Picture books we love: best bedtime stories for kids
It's Book Lover's Day today so we've been thinking about the stories we love snuggling down with and reading before our little ones head off to the Land of Nod. Did your faves make our list of picture books we love? Read on to check out a whole pile of the best bedtime stories for kids, and if it's a page to stage adventure you fancy, also check out our review of David Walliams' Billionaire Boy Live: it's taking its last bow on 22 August so you'll need to book your tix, stat!
Bing Bunny series by Ted Dewan
Oh how we love Bing Bunny! We discovered this super cute rabbit years ago when our own teenager was a tiny tot, and it's been on our bookcase ever since. We adore that while Bing is a bunny, he's also a really typical toddler and so, along with his best friend Flop, your own little ones will totally relate to the scrapes and situations they get into. From potty training to creating glitter storms, a dislike of veg to blanket picnics, Bing totally gets #toddlerlife.
Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
Aliens and underpants combined, you say? Yep, there's not a tot around who won't love this fun, rhyming story that’s bound to tickle their ribs, because, let's face it, when you're a kid, knickers and pants are a funny topic, and even more so when aliens are stealing them.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Little Nut Brown Hare has a lot of love to share, and this heart-warming read gets us every time. Who loves who more? That's always going to be a fun and silly debate after you've finished the story!
Hairy Maclary series by Lynley Dodd
A firm fave here, these shaggy dog tales follow Hairy Maclary and his four-legged friends on mad capers around Donaldsons Dairy. The books are in rhyme and combined with the lovely illustrations, they get a huge thumbs up from kids age three to seven years ish.
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
If you have a child who is partial to a bit of bling, the Fancy Nancy series is a must at bedtime. A kid who rocks feather boas and tiaras to the shops is a definite win in our book, but we also love that these books pack in plenty of ‘fancy words’ that widen our own kiddos’ vocab too.
The Night Pirates by Peter Harris
When young Tom is awoken by noises outside his house and sees a gang of girl pirates stealing the front of his house, it's time for a swashbuckling pirate adventure across the high seas to an island where some rather lazy pirates are guarding their treasure. The fact that this one isn't a traditional 'boys are pirates, girls are princesses' kinda book definitely floats our literary boat for sure.
Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen
Little Rabbit Foo Foo, riding through the forest, scooping up the wiggly worms and bopping them on the head. Down came the good fairy and said, “Little Rabbit Foo Foo, I don’t like your attitude scooping up the wiggly worms and bopping them on the head. You’ve got three chances to change or I’ll turn you into a goonie.” Find out if Little Rabbit Foo Foo can change his attitude to avoid becoming a goonie forever in this hysterically silly tale that we love, love, love.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen makes it onto our best bedtime stories for kids list not once but twice because we just couldn't call it between Little Rabbit Foo Foo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The latter is a classic that’s been charming adults and kids alike since 1989, and we never get tired of swishy grass, snow storms and a big bear in a tale that kids will demand to be read over and over.
Dirty Bertie series by David Roberts
This one will definitely appeal to kids who attract all things dirty, stinky and a little bit gross. Bertie has a bit of a smelly gas problem, eats his bogeys and picks up sweets from the floor, which therefore makes him a total hero in the eyes of anyone age three to seven years. Once your kids have moved beyond picture books, there’s a whole series of Dirty Bertie chapter books for older bookworms to read for themselves.
Charlie & Lola series by Lauren Child
Charlie & Lola is the ultimate ‘relatable’ series for siblings, and the whole 'little sister' thing will strike a chord for many. Lola is small and very funny, and we absolutely adore everything about her: especially her love of pink milk, her invisible friend, Soren Lorenson, and her ability to always get on the good side of her ever-patient brother, Charlie, even when she’s being a total pain in the butt.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
To be fair we could have put any of the books by this duo on the list, as they're all outstanding, but we’ve plumped for The Gruffalo as it’s the one that our own kiddos love best. Scrambled snake, anyone?
Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks
Aaaarrgghh! Spider! weaves a lovely story of a lonely spider who just wants to be a ‘real life pet‘. Will she get adopted by a family, or will she be washed down the plughole never to be seen again? This will make you rethink your fear of spiders (although the ones we find in our bath never look this cute!).
Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll
Written by Helen Nicoll and illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski, can you believe the first Meg and Mog book was published in 1972? Fact: our kids love these stories as much as we did when we were little. Meg made witches cool way before the Harry Potter books came along!
Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems
If you’re looking for a story that encourages sharing, then Pigeon Finds the Hot Dog does it in such a funny way that kids will never think twice about dividing their goodies again. We love everything about this whacky story, from its kooky illustrations to the rather angry pigeon.
Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Take deep breaths before you try and conquer the long rhyming paragraphs in this classic, and strap in for a crazy, ridiculous ride! Fun fact: this book was first published 61 years ago, so it's been wowing not just our own toddlers, but possibly even our grandparents when they were tots too!
Skeleton Crew by Allan Ahlberg
When three skeletons go on holiday (lucky them!) aboard their own little boat, they weren't counting on pirates setting them adrift on a ocean of hilarious adventures. Bone-ified fabulous.
That's bedtime sorted for a while: enjoy!
Like this story? Here are some more that might float your boat: