Top 10 children’s books for bedtime
written by: Ineke
From timeless classics to modern favourites, here’s our selection of the best children’s books to entertain both you and your child.
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Written in 1963, this is a classic tale of a child’s imagination run wild. Be warned, this is a dark tale to begin with but finishes with lessons learned: temper tantrums rarely get you what you want. And that mum will always love you!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
This children’s favourite has been published now in over 60 different languages, including the indigenous language of Yuwi, and continues to delight young readers around the world. The life cycle of a caterpillar is brought to life with bright colours, simple text, and silly meal ideas – well, for a caterpillar at least.
Where is the Green Sheep? – Mem Fox
Mem Fox has written over 30 books for both children and adults alike; too many to list here. Where is the Green Sheep? is one of her newer childrens’ classics which keeps the children guessing till the end while enjoying the rhyming and silly antics of one crazy flock of sheep. Other favourites by Mem include ‘Possum Magic’ and ‘Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes’.
Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell
This book will entertain all those children (and adults!) who ever asked for a pet during their childhood. Lift the flaps on each page to discover the not so perfect pet beneath – the Zoo just can’t get the perfect pet right. Interactive books make the most out of reading with your child; try ‘Where’s Spot’ by Eric Hill for more lift the flap fun!
The Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss
It is an established fact in life that cats are trouble. What starts out as good fun turns into a huge mess that may not be possible to clean up before mum gets home!
Inspired by the lack of fun children’s books back in the 1950’s, Theodor Geisel took a heap of rhyming words like ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ and went on to write several more classics under the guise of Dr Seuss. Try ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who’ for more rhyming fun for early readers.
Pete the Cat – Eric Litwin
This is actually a series of books, with songs and videos and even an Amazon Prime show available via the official website. Pete’s a very chilled cat with a relaxed, can-do attitude to all the problems life can throw at a toddler or preschool-aged child. The perfect series of books for explaining how to respond to the tricky aspects of life.
The Wonky Donkey – Craig Smith
Another fun story that incorporates music; Craig Smith originally wrote this story as a song, inspired by a joke. Rhyming is again the order of the day, along with fun, cheeky illustrations by Katz Cowley. Come for a walk along the road with the Wonky Donkey and see what all the fuss is about. Adults only: check out the hilarious video reaction by a grandma, reading to her grandchild.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
Performed by countless children’s entertainers around the world, this is truly a classic story that reinvents itself on a regular basis. Our favourites include walking through the long grass ‘swishy swashy swishy swashy’ and the surprise (unwanted!) guest at the end. Enjoy the repetition, rhyming, and we also recommend taking your Bear Hunt outside to the local park for additional laughs and fun.
Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister
Gorgeous, sparkly illustrations, also by the talented author, make this book a hit with the kids and helps to tell the tale of sharing and how it brings happiness to all. Marcus explains the importance of the glittery scales in the illustrations:
‘Adding the foil made the story feel plausible. For Rainbow Fish to just give away a colorful scale wasn’t so special. But to give away a glittering scale, that was something entirely different.’
Originally written in German, it was translated by J. Alison James and has gone on to be a television series like many of its contemporaries.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
A dog goes out for a walk, but what happens next? Inevitable chaos. Join Hairy Maclary on his off-leash wander through the village, meet all his furry friends, with a surprise guest at the end. The entertaining rhymes on every page make the Hairy Maclary series an enjoyable read for young and old alike.
What do you think? Do you agree with this list or have we missed your childhood favourite? Comment below; your favourite book (and you!) could be featured in a future blog post.
post by Ineke Smith