So I don’t know about any of you, but my little man loves a good ol’ fashioned bedtime story; to the point at times that he demands that the same one be read at least three times before bed. I mean I have always stood by the view that a child should, without fail, be read a bedtime story; it is so important from a young age for it to be built into a solid bedtime routine to help their little brains thrive and imaginations grow. My little dude has always been a massive fan of the bedtime story and his favourites, though they shift slightly from time to time, have always been pretty solid.
- I Love Cats! – Emma Dodd
Now the reason this book was originally bought for Jude was because we have a cat called Tiger Lily that he is becoming more and more interested in. At first they both knew to steer clear of each other but now when he cries, she will appear and meow as if to ask him if he is alright. In turn he now will approach her for hugs, well, I say hugs, I mean him lying on top of her with his arms out! Anyway, Emma Dodd tells and illustrates a colourful, fun rhyming tale about a little girl and how she has to choose between all of the different types of cats and how despite their flaws, including “howly, scowly, yowly cats” she loves them all the same. Now I love the end of this book as I can relate it back to Tiger Lily in that the little girls favourite cat, is her “small, soft, furry cat”. Heart warming cutie pie perfection right there… especially if you are a cat lover.
2. I Love You Father Christmas – Giles Andreae, Emma Dod
Here she is again, Emma Dodd doing her magic! Although this time illustrating a Christmas tale with Giles Andreae. Yes I accidentally left this one out when I was packing up ‘Christmas’ and Jude found it and now toddles up to me daily with this jolly giant in tow! It is a wonderful story though so I can’t really complain! It tells a magical tale through a little boys letter to Father Christmas of how he has been a good boy through the year and should surely deserve a few presents; “I always eat my tea”. It is wittily written and, I think, encourages children to consider all of the good deeds they can do to show Father Christmas that they are deserving of yuletide gifts – here’s hoping anyway!
3. Doing The Animal Bop – Jan Ormerod, Lindsey Gardiner
Now I am L O V I N G this book at the moment, mainly because if the amazing illustration, but also as it has some fantastically well written lines in there; “so swing your bottom to the quack-quack beat” and “its a rhino romp” are my personal faves! On each page we encounter an extraordinarily and colourfully illustrated animal and are told about the way it dances in witty and animated rhymes. Now I have to shout out to the snake, which as you can see is amazingly clad in florals, reds, oranges and yellows and wraps herself over a two page spread which the little man loves to run his chubby little fingers across while i attempt to do a Scarlett Johansson ‘Kaa’ impression.
4. The Big Red Bath – Julia Jarman, Adrian Reynolds
My mama bear, or Boushka as she is known, bought this one for Jude as it was a favourite in her classroom at work and he absolutely adores it. It reads like a song in the way that it has a version of a chorus “Splash you, splash you, SPLISH SPLASH SPLOSH”, which lately sends Jude into fits of giggles as i tend to move my knees up and down to the words when he’s sat on my lap in his reading chair (a very important piece of furniture i might add; if you don’t have one, get one!)
The verses are cleverly written and see different animals attempting to join a little boy and his sister in their big, red bath, which of course causes a huge mess of bubbles and water flying everywhere which is great for the illustrations and very fun to read. The variety of around the worldly animals is amazing, a lion, hippo, penguin, kangaroo and even a flock of flamingos (my favourite!)
It also has a little quirky ‘adults and older children only’ page at the back which is when Mum comes back into the bathroom; if you look carefully, all of the animals that have joined Ben and Bella on their journey can be found in small details around the room. Its the small things in life…
5. I Want My Hat Back – Jon Klassen
Now this… this piece of literary genius was originally bought for M E from a friend as we both stumbled across it in Waterstones some years back. It was being nominated for multiple awards and was at the front of the store looking rather bland but adorned by a shiny gold sticker. Anyway, it drew us in just from sheer curiosity and we fell in love with its quirky, hilarious and almost sarcastic tone; we thought that it was actually more suited to adults as is so dry in its humour and not very colourful, surely no child would enjoy it? Well… not my little prince, he loves it! I don’t know whether its the rhythmic dialogue or the way that we tell it, but its a daily demanded hit.
It is essentially about a bear, who can’t find his hat and on every page he asks different and slightly questionable looking animals, with the same vacant expression that can be seen on the cover, if they have seen his hat.
Each has a different response, some of which are hilarious as you can see, but needless to say eventually the bear feels like he is never going to find his hat and spends a two page spread lying down lamenting. When a reindeer, maybe, asks him why he is in such a predicament it sparks the bold red paged recollection that when he was asking all of the questionable animals the whereabouts of his hat, one of them was in fact wearing it the whole time. Now this page is the ultimate favourite, Jude knows when it is coming and is in fits of giggles when we get to it!
The bear proceeds to run back past all of the animals, this is the time i do a running man impression with my fingers across the page and up the little mans chest which again causes A L L the laughter. Eventually we simply see the bear wearing his hat, sat on a crushed area of foliage; to a child, Mr Bear has his hat… hooray!! To the reader, we find out that the bear has eaten the rabbit that was wearing his hat. Fantastic.
The pages are bland yes, but these give Jude a better chance of spotting the elusive hat as the pages are turned which encourages him to point at it when asked (communication skill building right there parents of the world!) and if you have the right sense of humour that is definitely needed when appreciating this vision of literary gold, then I’m sure you A N D your child will fall as much in love with this book as we did. I have also heard on the grapevine that there is a sequel to this book and a third to be coming out later in the year… straight on that!
Give them all a go! Let me know if you have any suggestions of your own for fave bedtime stories too… who doesn’t love a good bedtime story!?