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Books My Toddler Loves

I Love You, Bunny

Bedtime Posted on 05 Feb, 2018 11:46AM

I Love You, Bunny by Alina Surnaite, published by Lincoln Children’s Books

This is a charming debut picture book from Lithuanian author illustrator, Alina Surnaite. This book immediately appealed to us due to the similarity between the little girl that features in the book and our own two year old, who also has a dark-brown fringe and her own treasured bunny (which she calls “Babbit”).

Our daughter became attached to Babbit when she started at nursery just after her first birthday – a soft rabbit snugly with pink and white stripes. Having recently transferred her from cot to big girl’s bed, the presence of Babbit by her side at bedtime has become more important to her than ever.

This story addresses one of the most common childhood worries – a fear of the dark at bedtime. Bunny is little Suzy’s faithful and brave cuddly companion, who protects her at night from any “monsters” that might be lurking in the dark.

One early morning Suzy is alarmed to find Bunny is gone and cries out for her mother, convinced he’s been taken by a shadowy monster she’d seen in her room. As she’s comforted by her mother, the family cat apologetically delivers Bunny back to Suzy.

This is an ideal choice to read to a little one who may have bedtime worries or is transitioning into a new bed. The whimsical pencil drawings, with their sparse use of colour amid the darkness, perfectly accompany the story of a little girl conquering her nocturnal fears.

Stories for a Goodnight

Bedtime Posted on 01 Nov, 2017 08:49PM

stories have been an established part of our youngest daughter’s
bedtime routine for some time now and these two picture books are
ideal for winding down before saying good night.

Goodnight Like This by
Mary Murphy, published by Walker Books

were already fans of Mary Murphy’s “Say hello like this”, so
were pleased to find this bedtime version in our local library.

with bunny rabbits, each double page spread visits a different pair
of creatures carrying out their own bedtime routine. The bunnies are
“yawny and dozy, twitchy and cosy”, the cats “snorey and furry,
stretchy and purry”. The reader can peek under the flaps in each
page to see the sleeping animals.

illustrations, painted in all the colours of dusk in the countryside
are both beautiful and calming. The gentle rhyme of the words adds to
the welcome soporific effect, fitting the final message of
“everyone’s tucked up in bed – now it’s your turn, you

Goodnight Everyone by
Chris Haughton, published by Walker Books

love Chris Haughton’s distinctive illustrations and bold colour
palette and “Goodnight Everyone” is a lovely choice for a bedtime

the end of the day and all of the forest animals are sleepy, with
heavy, drooping eyelids. The mice are sleepy, the hares are sleepy,
the deer are sleepy, Great Big Bear is sleepy, all are sleepy,
except, of course, for Little Bear with his big wide open eyes.

For a
while Little Bear tries to entice the other little animals to play
with him, but eventually he lets out a yawn and acquiesces when Great
Big Bear carries him home.

By this
time, all of the animals are sleeping and we visit each snoring
family, depicted in beautiful sunset colours. Finally, Little Bear is
cuddled up, under the twinkling night sky, “goodnight everyone”.

extra treat in the end notes are the solar system and constellation
graphics, of course depicting Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor
(Little Bear).

reviews of other great bedtime reads can be found here:

Little Star

I Love You Night and Day
Bedtime with Ted

Old Bear’s Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Posted on 11 Oct, 2016 07:44PM

Old Bear’s Bedtime Stories
by Jane Hissey, published by Scribblers (Salariya)

There are very few things in life as rewarding as reading a story to a child at bedtime, in fact it is probably number one. Over the last two weeks, our stories at bedtime comprised of the complete Old Bear’s Bedtime Stories, a truly wonderful compendium of amusing, kindly reassuring and beautifully depicted tales of Old Bear and his friends, some of which were first published more than 30 years ago. Our three and a half year old daughter has been soothed each night by the gently meanderings of the book’s charming characters, including the impulsive Rabbit, the accident-prone Duck and the wise Bramwell Bear.

The compilation cycles through seasonal settings, such as picnics in the sun, carving smiling bear-faced jack-o’lanterns (which by popular request we will now be making for Halloween), dressing up for the Christmas party, and knitting an un-meltable snowman. The stories are interspersed with whimsical rhymes and poems, and throughout the book the narrative is accompanied by Jane Hissey’s now famous, near-photographic illustrations.

One of our favourite chapters was the story of Henry Isiah – the bear with one eye higher than the other – who wants to change his name to James. His friends arrange a new name party for him, but when the invitations are taken out for delivery by dog, he doesn’t know who James is, so Henry Isiah doesn’t get an invite and misses all the fun of his party, including the games and cake. As a result he realises it’s a “bit risky” to change his name. Anyway he figures that he actually likes his name, mainly because when he writes it on a balloon it goes all the way round, and is twice as long as James.

This is a treasury in the real sense of the word, with a very high quality production value throughout this hardback’s 160 pages. It would make a perfect gift for a special occasion like a first birthday and, like our copy, would be sure to become a long-term family favourite.

The Snatchabook

Bedtime Posted on 07 Mar, 2016 08:10AM

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, published by Alison Green Books

After her third birthday, our eldest daughter helped write thank you cards to all the people who came to her party by drawing some original art in each one. Some of these multicoloured felt tip creations were a little abstract, but she was adamant that each was representative of her intended subjects.

These included a plate of bacon and eggs, a seacow and a tree with leaves falling down. In several, including the card for her granny and grandpa, she drew a mouse’s house, complete with a bed, stairs and a downstairs toilet.

On receiving her card, granny identified the source of the enclosed artwork’s inspiration – the intricate world of Burrow Down, the cosy grove that provides the backdrop to the marvellous The Snatchabook by Helen and Thomas Docherty.

The Snatchabook is now well established as a favourite read. Its well-paced rhyme and warm, detailed illustrations perfectly combine to produce a delightful tale of nocturnal creatures whose books disappear, set in the dens, nests and warrens of a forest of old oak trees.

As all the little creatures settle down for bedtime stories, the book’s protagonist, a young rabbit called Eliza Brown, is reading to herself in bed when suddenly her favourite book disappears. The same is happening elsewhere in the forest to hedgehogs, owls and squirrels.

Rumours spread as to who is to blame, as more books go amiss. Eliza hatches a plan to catch the mischievous perpetrator in the act. Happily, the mystery is solved and amends are made, with the story introducing subtle concepts of empathy and forgiveness.

As night falls we see a happy scene of families enjoying books together. Once again “in every house, in every bed, a bedtime book was being read”.

Time For Bed, Fred!

Bedtime Posted on 26 Jun, 2015 08:09PM

Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail, published by Bloomsbury

This is a book filled with fun, with wonderful illustration and strong, clear language that is perfectly suited to be read from the earliest months and still enjoyed years later.

The playful, mischievous and loyal Fred is one of our daughter’s favourite characters from her picturebook collection (an ideal companion to Chris Haughton’s ‘George’).

It’s a great option for helping young toddlers who are just starting to talk to learn about emphasis and tone – “That’s not your bed, Fred. That’s my bed”.

It’s a book that also helped our toddler to develop an understanding of the bedtime routine and that, after a day of digging soil, chasing cats, having a bubble bath, and getting cosy, it’s time to settle down in your own bed for a lovely night’s sleep.

On turning to the final page, our toddler always joins us in saying “night night” to Fred and wishing him sweet dreams.

With thanks to Yasmeen Ismail for allowing use of her cover image with this review.

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