So we all know that reading a bedtime story is an important part of a bedtime routine. I may not be the best person to talk about routines here, and I may, on more than one occasion (okay, quite often), have fallen asleep while in the middle of reading a bedtime story (to be rudely awakened by a sharp cry of “Mummy! Wake up!”), but we do enjoy a good bedtime story. Although why do they have a more soporific effect on me than on her?
Perhaps any book could be a bedtime book, but the books I've chosen here are specifically about bedtime as well as for bedtime.
If you really want to get your toddler or preschooler in the mood for settling into bed these books are ideal.
All five of these books were given to Emma by her grandparents or aunties and all opinions are our own.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com which means I make a small commission on purchases made from these links. Click on the book cover image to go to the Amazon link.
The Magic Castle
by Stella Farris
Of the five books I've chosen here, The Magic Castle is the one with the most excitement, and maybe even slightly scary elements, although the ending is delightfully comforting.
Because it is a pop-up book with some delicate parts, it needs to be handled with slightly more care. That doesn't mean you can't read it with a toddler, I used to read it with Emma when she was two, but with careful supervision.
The story is about a boy who dreams one night that he is in a magic castle. With each turn of the page he enters a new room and in each room up pops a bigger and scarier creature than in the previous room. The boy tries to be brave and keeps going until he reaches the last room where there is a cute surprise waiting for him.
The Magic Castle is a classic, my sister had this book when she was little and then our youngest sister inherited it. She was the one who gave this book to Emma, as she had enjoyed it so much.
by Kim Lewis
This is a lovely and sweet story about a cuddly toy elephant, Harry, who can't get to sleep. He tries everything – reading a story, exercising, tidying up, lying on his back, lying on his tummy – but sleep never comes to Harry. Eventually he accidentally pulls the covers off his friends, Ted (a teddy bear) and Lulu (a cuddly lamb), waking them up. They are sympathetic to Harry’s problem and sit with him looking out of the window together.
Harry is soon fast asleep himself.
The illustrations are gorgeous and make everything look soft and muted. The cuddly toys especially look like they have a soft furry texture.
Everything about this book is calming and comforting, making it absolutely ideal for bedtime reading for little ones.
Elmer and the Lost Teddy
by David McKee
Elmer the patchwork elephant is well-known and well-loved character for many. Here he comes to the rescue when baby elephant loses his teddy which he can't get to sleep without. Elmer generously lends baby elephant his own (patchwork) teddy and sets out to find the lost teddy. Along the way he comes across all the other baby animals, all sleeping contentedly with their own teddies and we see how essential teddies are to all of the baby animals.
It's a very cute story with characteristically colourful illustration and a message of generosity and helping others.
by Polly Dunbar
This is one of a series of books, each featuring one of the characters who all live together in a little yellow house. Apparently, the setting was inspired by the author’s own experiences of sharing a house with friends. The characters are a little girl called Tilly, Hector, a red cowboy boot- wearing pig, a very lady-like hen called Pru, Tumpty the Elephant, Doodle the dinosaur and finally Tiptoe, a rabbit in a stripy onesie. The motherly Tilly is helping all her friends get ready for bed, but cheeky Tiptoe just won't settle down, insists he is not sleepy and does everything possible to put off going to bed. Does this remind you of anyone?!
I think part of the charm of this story is that each of the characters is so well-defined that they do remind you a bit of people you know. Tiptoe is funny in his antics to avoid going to sleep and the story and characters are so endearing you can’t help but love them.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang
This is a beautiful board book with moving parts on each page. The text is the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and inside the cover is a QR code which takes you to an audio recording of the song. You could listen at the same time as looking at the book, but then you would have to go back and start the book again, taking your time on each page to spot all the little details in the illustrations.
The real story in this book is told more in the illustrations than in the text. Observe the scenes on each page and "read" the pictures; tell the story of what you see. The moving parts also add a special appeal; raising the star in the sky also lifts up the blinds in the windows so you can see into the houses; you can make the star shoot across the sky; you can turn a dial and see all sorts of different nocturnal animals chasing after each other and a parade of objects and animals passing across the night sky. When she was quite a lot younger, Emma used to spend ages turning the animals rounds on the dial.
I hope you’ve found something here to add to your bedtime reading collection! Have you and your little ones read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do you have any other recommendations for bedtime stories? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
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