The perfect bedtime story: Top authors choose their favourites from BookTrust
Searching for the perfect bedtime story? Need some good recommendations?
We asked our friends over at BookTust what they would recommend. They asked children’s authors and illustrators to recommend their favourites.
Read on for their top books to read at bedtime, including the books they shared with their children and even the books they had read to them when they were little…
Nadia Shireen, author and illustrator of The Bumblebear
‘I’d nominate A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton – it’s a pleasure to read this to my son at bedtime. The story is simple, the illustrations are gorgeous…… and best of all, there’s a page where the little owl is reunited with his mum, which provides us with a lovely bedtime cuddle opportunity.’
Image Credit: A Bit Lost, Chris Haughton
Piers Torday, author of the Last Wild trilogy and There May Be A Castle
‘I love reading at bedtime at all ages.
‘My favourite for under 5s is The Book with No Pictures by B J Novak because it is so much fun for everyone, bears repeating and is a chance (of course) for this big child to show off!
‘As for under 11s, when I was that age I used to love reading Tintin books with my Dad, because he did all the different voices for the characters.’
Image Credit: The Book With No Pictures, B.J Novak
Jane Hissey, author of the Old Bear books
‘When my children were little I really enjoyed reading Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree books to them – they were particularly gripped by the gentle and funny adventures.
‘The fact that the books fall naturally into chapters and each is a separate adventure makes them work so well as bedtime reading… though we often had to visit several ‘lands’ before we could put the book down!
‘My grandchildren are now enjoying the stories just as much as their parents did.’
Image Credit: Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree
Nick Sharratt, illustrator of Jacqueline Wilson’s books and author and illustrator of The Cat and The King
‘Not having children of my own and with nieces and a nephew growing up fast, it’s all too rare that I get the chance to share a bedtime story, so when I do, it really has to be one I’ve illustrated. Luckily for me, Sally Symes wrote the brilliant Yawn and gave me the chance to have fun with some jolly animal characters.
‘A board book with a lovely rhyming text that gently encourages little ones to guess which sleepy creature will show up on next the page, Yawn is not too long, has an extremely satisfying big round hole running right through the pages, and every time I’ve read it we’ve found ourselves joining in the yawning too – which is exactly what you want at bedtime!’
Image credit: Yawn, Sally Symes
Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo
‘One of my favourite books to read at bedtime is Fleabag by Helen Stephens. There is drama, pathos and humour in this story of a flea-ridden and ownerless dog’s search for friendship.
‘Helen’s pictures of the dog are enchanting – he is instantly adorable but not in a too Disney-like way. With its themes of friendship and moving house, the book is a delight to read aloud at bedtime.’
Image Credit: Fleabag, Helen Stephens
Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo
‘I always knew the importance of reading and stories for a child’s development and their understanding of the world. But experiencing it with my own daughter is altogether another thing.
‘I read to her every night extensively – it’s a wonderful shared experience. Sadly, she is a bit lazy about reading on her own, but she loves books and stories, so I haven’t given up hope!
‘My daughter’s choice for bedtime reading would be The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, for over eights, but why stop reading to your children? I also think it’s good to have a German recommendation, so I want to recommend Ulrich Hub and Jörg Mühle’s Meet Me at the Ark at Eight, published by Pushkin.’
Image credit: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
Emily Gravett, author and illustrator of Wolves and Tidy
‘I’ve been staring at my bookshelves racking my brain trying to think of the perfect bedtime story. There are so many brilliant books out there, but I keep coming back to a book that my daughter chose hundreds of times for her bedtime story when she was about two or three.
‘I asked my partner which story he’d choose, and he came up with the same book – quite a feat considering my extensive collection!
‘When I showed it to my now 19-year-old daughter, her face lit up. So my recommendation for the perfect bedtime book is… Jez Alborough’s Where’s My Teddy. It has everything – a little bit of fear, a funny rhyme, and a cuddly snuggly sleepy ending.’
Image credit: Where’s My Teddy? Jez Alborough
Cressida Cowell, author of How to Train Your Dragon
‘I have lots of fond memories of reading wonderful picture books with my children. Sharing books from an early age shows that they are important, something worth spending time on. I’m especially fond of Dr Seuss books, such as The Lorax and Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You?
‘They both have a rolling rhythm which propels you through the story, and The Lorax in particular demonstrates that even books for very young children can have a strong message: ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot/Nothing is going to get better, it’s not’. You have a heart of stone if you’re not moved by this book.
‘Other favourites to read with my children were Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Mick Inkpen books and many more… Did you know that Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon began as a picture book character?’
Image credit: The Lorax, Dr Seuss