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Blog > September 2018 > Our Top 10 Favourite Children’s Books That are Perfect for Bedtime Reading

Why Read a Bedtime Story?

Sharing a bedtime story can provide vital parent/child bonding time. During this period, you and your child are caught up in the same magical world, exploring it together.
Plus, all the usual benefits of reading still apply; it’s a great way to broaden your child’s understanding of the world, to help them see from a new perspective. You can introduce them to new ideas, emotions and concepts in carefully controlled conditions with the guiding hands of talented writers. It can also improve literacy skills and widen your child’s vocabulary too.
And, at bedtime, reading a story can be particularly useful, your choice of book and style of reading can be tailored to create a lovely, soothing experience. It can help children unwind and relax, and ensure they doze off with happy thoughts into sweet dreams.
Oh yes, and it’s just great fun!

Making Story Time Even More Fun

Sharing books aloud will always be enjoyable, but here are some top tips to help you ramp up the fun factor:
Don’t hog the story. Involving your child in reading, ensures they stay engaged and feel part of it. The obvious approach would be to take turns reading a page or line each, but this can be shaken up. You could try taking a character each, echoing each other, or even saying important words together at the same time.
Don’t just read. Perform! Make your tone match the mood of the line or try different voices for different characters. If you have related cuddly toys lying around, you could even try using props.
Choose the best books. This one is kind of a given, but a book with great writing and beautiful illustrations will always make for a more enjoyable read. If you can find one that’s relevant to your child, involving their favourite animal or a moral that relates to their own life, that’s even better.
So, with that in mind, here are our suggestions of brilliant books that are perfect for bedtime reading.

Our Favourite Bedtime Stories

  1. Mary Poppins
Everybody knows the story of a magical nanny who blows in on the East wind, bringing kites, sugar and impossibly long words to the lives of Jane and Michael Banks. For most people, Mary Poppins is a classic family movie but did you know that it was based on a book by P.L Travers? It has all of the same magic, heart and humour as the film and is a wonderful read-aloud experience.
A great choice if you’re looking for a funny voice challenge – just see if you can beat that creaky cockney accent of Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep!
  1. Rabbit’s Nap
Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson is probably the Queen of read-aloud stories. Every one of her tales of animals, creatures and even talking sticks is genuinely sweet and her writing, always rhyming and rhythmic, is ridiculously fun to read.
The story of Rabbit’s Nap is about an exhausted rabbit who just wants to sleep and is particularly great for younger kids. There are interactive flaps to lift on every page, adding an extra visual dimension to the story.
  1. Flat Stanley
Deliciously named, Stanley Lambchop was just an ordinary young boy until a wayward noticeboard fell on his bed and squished him flat - flat as a pancake in fact. We follow Stanley as he embraces his new body-type, slipping under locked doors and travelling the country first class, folded in an envelope. And, with talents like that, how can he resist helping out when art thieves appear in town…
Flat Stanley is warmly comic and this book is all the better for its inspiring main character who turns his… erm… unusual… appearance to his own advantage.
  1. The Legend of Podkin One-Ear
We’re not the only ones who love this fantasy-adventure book. It won the Best Story Blue Peter Book Award in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2018.
A brutal attack on his home forces young rabbit, Podkin One-Ear to step up and protect his family against the terrifying Gorm, enemy to all of rabbit kind. And that’s fine, he is the son of a warrior chieftain after all. He just isn’t ready to rule the warren quite yet.
  1. East of the Sun, West of the Moon
This retelling of a Norwegian folk tale is specially designed to help children who lack confidence in their reading, making it a perfect bedtime story.As well as clear, concise writing, it has some gorgeous illustrations. East of the Sun, West of the Moon revolves around a girl’s journey across the earth. A fantastical journey, astride a great white bear, with plenty of adventures along the way.
  1. Lost and Found
A boy opens his door to find a penguin on his doorstep. The penguin looks sad, and the boy decides he must be lost. Try as he might, he can’t find anyone to claim the penguin, so the boy sets out for the South Pole himself. But is the penguin really lost, and is home what he’s really searching for?
Oliver Jeffers is a bestselling picture book author and Lost and Found is one of his best. Beautiful watercolour style illustrations and a heart-warmingly poignant story make this book a genuine joy to share.
  1. The Elephant in the Room
Father Giant’s favourite china elephant is in bits, and he wants to know who smashed it! We join him as he hunts down the culprit in this whacky whodunnit with a warming moral heart.  Everything about The Elephant in the Room is bold and bright, from its distinctive illustrations to its dashing colour choices. And, written entirely in rhyme, it’s as fun to read out loud as it is to look at!
  1. Where the Wild Things Are
Chances are, you’re already familiar with Max, the mischief maker in a wolf suit. Labelled ‘A wild thing’ by his long-suffering mother, he is sent to bed without supper. And, as night falls, a forest sprouts, a sea rises in his room and Max sails away to the place where the wild things are…
Originally published in the 60’s, Where the Wild Things Are has been celebrated ever since and it’s easy to see why. Iconic illustrations brush up against a story that is as sweet as it is scary, and a moral that anyone would approve of coming together to make one spellbinding bedtime story.
  1. The Magic Faraway Tree
Enid Blyton was something of a prolific writer, with over 180 novels to her name (not to mention short story collections, contributions and education books). The Faraway series are some of her best, detailing the adventures to be had in the ever-changing worlds to be found among the branches of The Magic Faraway Tree.
Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening in a world inhabited by Moon-face, The Saucepan Man or Dame Washalot?
  1. Waiting
Five friends (an owl, a puppy, a bear, a pig and a rabbit) sit on the windowsill, all waiting for wonderful things to happen. Well, all except rabbit – he just likes waiting. Time stretches on, seasons slip past the window and friendship flourishes…but will the five eventually stop waiting?
Style reflects story in this gentle celebration of the understated joy of Waiting. Short sentences, mesmerising repetition, and simple, tender pictures turn this book from a story to an experience that may shine a whole new light on the previously-loathed art of patience.
So, there we have ten of our favourite bedtime stories, to help you find something new and exciting to share at bedtime. With something as enjoyable and educational as reading-aloud though, you may well fly through this list! Luckily there are so many wonderful children’s books out there, with gorgeous illustrations or rolling rhythmic words, it’s likely impossible to ever run out.