Welcome to our bedtime bookshelf. I’ve laid out a couple of my favourite bedtime stories for toddlers that I love to read with my little girl. Charlotte is due to turn 18 months old soon, so is always after funny, colourful and entertaining books. Not too short and not too long. Just right for those bedtime cuddles, with a warm cup of milk and some fresh pyjamas.
So snuggle up with us, and explore a few of our current favourites.
I think this can now be classed as a modern classic as it seems that you’ll barely find a child that doesn’t know of The Gruffalo in either book or TV form. We have really enjoyed the Julia Donaldson ‘Acorn Wood’ series, which are ‘lift the flap’ books. However, it seems that the lift the flap books are a bit too exciting for bedtime stories. This one is perfect.
I’m not going to say I’m any good at accents or putting on other voices, but I do try and give it a go for this one. Much to Charlotte’s bemusement. The story is funny and cheeky and I love the rhythm of the book. As always, the illustrations by Axel Scheffler, drawing you in with the deep green tones of the forest. We have a few wooded areas nearby, so maybe when she’s a little older we might try and hunt down the Gruffalo for ourselves.
The Girl and the Dinosaur
The illustrations in The Girl and the Dinosaur are stunning, drawn in a way that instantly makes you feel like you are in a dreamscape with little Marianne.
The scene is set on a beach, with a small town and a ‘tattered, battered pier’.
We live not too far from Aberystwyth and the image always makes me smile and wonder if Charlotte will think it based on her home town later on (I’m not sure how many dinosaurs are buried on South Beach).
I love the whimsical imagery and the thought of her dinosaur friend coming back to life, picking her up whilst she’s asleep and whisking her off to play amongst the dreams. The poetry makes this book flow really well and it’s always a calming bedtime story for us to read. The magic and imagination of this book is perfect for snuggling down and floating off to faraway lands.
Five Minutes’ Peace
This book is a favourite of mine since my own childhood. I remember the way my Mum used to read it to me, so I hope I do it justice for Charlotte. She always giggles when I put on the stern voice of Mrs Large, the elephant Mum, who just wants some time out (and believe me, I feel you Mrs Large)
I love the illustrations showing all the details in the kitchen and the bathroom, so if Charlotte needs some winding down, we will use each page to talk about what we can see. We say ‘Oh No!’ really loudly when yet ANOTHER child comes in to ruin Mrs Larges’ ‘me time’. I really hope she got to relax in the end. But for the duration of the story, we love seeing her frustration build with her doting, yet attention-seeking, little brood. My copy of Five Minutes’ Peace is a little dog eared after being carried around the house and is a much-loved possession!
John Lennon (from the Little People, Big Dreams Series)
We are big Beatles fans in this house. So when the Little People, Big Dreams author Isabel Sánchez Vegra bought out the John Lennon book, we knew it had to be added to our collection. The story follows the life of John Lennon, but as with all of the books, its theme is informative and light, sharing key details that may interest little minds.
I point to the beautiful images drawn by Octavia Bromell, showing people playing music and singing. At the back, there are real photographs of John and more in-depth information if you wanted to read further on the people the books are based on.
A book that I’m sure will be kept for many years. And a good reference if Charlotte fancies learning more about him.
Rain Before Rainbows
This is a beautiful book, with such a powerful message about hope.
Charlotte is still very young, so for us, this bedtime read is all about colours and animals. But one day, we may read this book when we need a bit of a boost. We’ll use it to remember that there is good yet to come.
Rain Before Rainbows is a real plethora of colours on each page, with swirling images of rain, looming mountains and adventure, but at the end, triumph, friendship and dancing. This bedtime read is beautifully written by Smriti Halls and bought to life so eloquently by David Litchfield. It is a perfect addition to your bedtime shelf.
If you’ve enjoyed seeing our favourite bedtime stories, I’ve also written a post about my favourite children’s books about hope talking about inspirational, uplifting and moving reads for little minds. Let me know what you think about them and if you have any that I should definitely read.
But now we’re all done for tonight. Turn off the star lights, tiptoe out, and go and make yourself a nice brew and a bickie.
Night Night xx