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In this section we have brought together some of our favourite bedtime reads that we hope will become yours too.
Full of a sense of tenderness but also possibilities, Songs for our Sons contains every wish you could have for a young boy growing up today, from ‘Never change, fib or follow, just to try to fit in./Be proud, free and happy in your own, unique skill’, to ‘Keep a still place inside, that you can call home/ and know how to find it, wherever your roam.’ The text is touching, heartfelt and always uplifting, while Ashling Lindsay’s illustrations depict children playing in a range of settings, from green fields to desert cities and magic trees, bold colours and shifting perspectives making every turn of the page an adventure. Giving this and receiving it, both will be a real joy.
What happens when a SPOTTY, HAIRY MONSTER shows up instead of Father Christmas on Christmas Eve? It’s certainly not what YOUR CHILD expected in their Christmas stocking!! But when they find out that Father Christmas is in trouble, well...thank goodness they’ve got the...BOO!!! A fun, rhyming, personalised Christmas adventure that is a wonderful companion to our birthday book – “The Birthday BOO!” Personalise “The Christmas BOO!” with the child’s name on the cover, spine and throughout the story AND with their most wanted Christmas gift. Remember to add your own dedication – a personal message that will be printed in the front of book – for a festive gift that they’ll treasure forever. “The Christmas BOO!” is priced at £19.95 for a Softcover and £24.95 for a Hardcover and is available on Tickled Moon’s website. There you can preview the whole book with your personalisations and listen to the story read by the author, Alison Reddihough.
A gorgeously warm and relatable story from the brilliant Jill Murphy, featuring the much-loved Bear Family from classic picture book Peace at Last. Mr and Mrs Bear wake up late. It's raining outside, and Baby Bear is late for nursery. Then Mrs Bear sits on her glasses at work and Mr Bear spills his coffee! Oh dear - it seems this is just going to be one of those days! But the loveable Bear family muddle through cheerfully, and there's even a surprise for Baby Bear when Mr Bear gets home from work. With all the hallmarks of an instant firm favourite, Just One of Those Days is a big-hearted story about a family day, which parents and children everywhere will relate to. Full of satisfying repetition and rhythm and delightful illustrations, Just One of Those Days is a must-have for all Jill Murphy fans, old and new.
From the inventive author-illustrator of the award-winning There’s a Bear on My Chair comes this smart sequel, and boy has Ross Collins delivered again. It’s a rollicking, rhyming, visually-pleasing treat in which it turns out that Bear isn’t terribly keen on getting a taste of his own medicine (to begin with, at least). The cause of Bear’s irritation is the presence of Mouse in his house (yes, the very same Mouse on whose chair Bear presumptuously sat in the first book). In Bear’s outraged words, “That rodent can’t live here, oh no! I’ll tell him that he has to go.” Of course, Mouse refuses to leave and proceeds to cause chaos in Bear’s house, before a mob of partying mice turn up. But then - the twist! – when Bear realises “Hey! These mice are nice!” With wonderful interplay between text, illustration and design, this is excellent for reading aloud - the kind of book that will have toddlers urging for it to be read again, and again (and again) while completing the rhymes before adults have chance to read them.
Bedtime – anytime – is better with Elmer and here’s another gorgeous story starring this much-loved patchwork hero. Elmer is babysitting two little elephants and decides a good walk will tire them out. Everyone they meet suggests he tell them a bedtime story, and everyone has a different favourite to recommend. When he finally comes to settle the little elephants down for the night, which story will he choose? It doesn’t matter, because all three are asleep before they get to the happy ever after! This is of course a perfect bedtime story – gentle, funny and full of warmth. David McKee’s illustrations always dazzle, and here the jungle scenes are practically glow in the dark.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 3-6 | Shortlisted for CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021 | Having suffered heatwaves and COVID anxiety, we can all empathise with the tired and grumpy Arlo who just cannot sleep. The hero of the Greenaway medal winner’s new book speaks to us all, but particularly to over-tired and over excited small children who do not know how to let go of the day. Luckily for Arlo, and for children, Owl is to hand with some useful advice on how he manages to sleep when everyone is awake during the day. The logic of receiving advice from a nocturnal animal will really register with this audience. “Have a good stretch from your nose to your toes/ Do a little wriggle, let your eyes gently close/Relax your whole body, slow your breathing right down/ Imagine you’re sinking into the soft ground". The gentle refrain that Owl teaches Arlo is the perfect antidote for us all- a little bit of mindfulness that would also be a lovely calm down routine in the classroom! Not only are the illustrations a visual feast, with a stunning colour palette marking the transitions between night and day, but Arlo and Owl are beautifully characterised. Another trademark from this hugely talented author is the warm humour. Arlo is so excited by his long and restful sleep that he must tell Owl- and wakes him up! The song is reciprocated with success and their joint celebrations at dusk wake the rest of the neighbourhood and a duet is required to restore calm. The repeated refrain will be one that is copied in homes and classrooms everywhere. Useful for mindfulness and as an introduction to Night and Day topics, this stunning book is a real triumph of beautiful words and images working in absolute harmony.
This is a book to make everyone smile a bit more, but junior members of your own family in particular. It’s published by Tickled Moon, out and out leaders in personalised books, which means you can put your two favourite young people at the heart of the story. And what a warm and comforting story it is. After a nightmare, a cuddle is guaranteed to make things better. As more and more people join in (a chance to add other family members and friends directly into the story), the cuddle grows, and by the final pages it is stretching round the whole world, linking everyone up in an outpouring of love so huge, it can be seen from space! The sentiment is lovely, the rhyming text lots of fun and the illustrations are packed with detail (look out for that dreamy dragonfly hiding on every page). A great book to share, while the magic of personalisation will make it very special indeed. “The Longest Cuddle” is priced at £19.95 for a Softcover and £24.95 for a Hardcover and is available on Tickled Moon’s website.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2021 | A giant baby is on the loose and everything in the Kingdom is about to be destroyed! He tramples the forest and flattens houses and bridges, he sits on the train station and shakes the passengers out of a double decker bus. Neither the soldiers or the airforce can stop him. As he approaches the castle, the King and Queen shake in terror and call a meeting of all their best advisors. What is to be done to save the kingdom? Only the Princess has an answer. As she keeps saying, he is only a baby…Young readers will love this playful and imaginary realisation of a familiar family drama which is vividly captured in Bruce Ingman’s large scale illustration which blend real and imaginary worlds perfectly.
Freshly following the swashbuckling, song-driven Go, Go Pirate Boat by the same author-illustrator team, Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur (to be sung - or belted out - to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”) is pretty much picture book perfection for pre-schoolers obsessed with these prehistoric heavyweights. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs, especially as imagined by Nick Sharratt in his distinctive bold, bright, ultra-engaging style, and especially when coupled with Katrina Charman’s joyful rhyming couplets? Using a day-in-the-life structure, the book follows a gaggle of dinosaurs who variously soar and swoop, stomp and stamp, munch and crunch, clop and crash, tromp and tramp from dawn to dusk before saying goodnight as the moon rises high. Alongside the sing-along fun, the book will also help little ones learn to recognise different dinosaurs, among them playful pterodactyls, leader-of-the pack stegosaurus, fun-loving triceratops, and the fierce, thundering T. Rex.
Every young child will understand Oscar’s irritation with those constant adult questions, and his decision to stomp out: ‘Where are you going?’, ‘Nowhere’. When he discovers Nowhere at the bottom of his garden, at first this adult free zone seems like paradise – no-one to ask, ‘Where’s your coat?’ or ‘Should you be playing with that?’, but as time goes by Oscar realises that there are some questions he misses, ‘Would you like a cuddle?’, ‘What about a story?’. Like Sendak’s Max, Oscar turns to find his way home from the wild world of his imagination back to his loving family. Jeanne Willis is one of our cleverest and most skilful picture book authors and this is a typically perceptive and multi-layered story. Anastasia Suvorova’s illustrations and die-cut pages add a delicate air of magic, while Oscar, vivid in his oversized red jumper, always holds the eye. A lovely book for family sharing.
As one would expect from a much-lauded artist, past Children’s Laureate and winner of the prestigious Hans Andersen Prize and two Kate Greenaway medals, this is a very beautiful book. But this modern fable has some gentle but poignant messages for young readers. As in many of his books one can safely assume the child represented by young Ernest. Safe and happy with his mum and the rest of the herd but bursting with curiosity about life, and one day he sets off to explore the fascinating jungle. Children will pour over the jungle pages with relish, spotting leopard skin tree trunks, flowers made of fried eggs or even Crème eggs in classic surrealist Browne style. But young Ernest gets increasingly alarmed by the strangeness and finds himself lost. Every child will empathise with the lost child trauma. Ernest is relieved to come upon other animals, but what a disappointment they turn out to be and how marvellously is their boredom and selfish disdain captured. They really cannot be bothered to help or listen – just like some politicians! But somebody does listen- a tiny mouse. Ernest thanks him most politely but does not believe help is possible from this unprepossessing source. Yet he can and does and Ernest and his mum are so happy to be reunited. “And so was the little mouse, as it quietly scurried back into the jungle” Illustrating so perfectly that helpfulness brings its own reward – just as it does for all those carers and NHS staff selflessly giving their time to help. A lovely rewarding read to reflect upon together.
Bedtime is a special time and we all have our favourite books that we love to read over and over....but sometimes we need new recommendations, and that is where we come in!
All bedtime routines are different. Some have a bath, others a warm drink but the best routines end with a cuddle and a good book.