Did you know that today is actually Children’s Book Day? 2nd April is also Hans Christian Anderson’s Birthday and the aim of this day is to celebrate children’s books and encourage children everywhere to read. Casper is a company that sells innovative mattresses that is helping to spread the word about Children’s Book Day by talking about their favorite time to read books: bedtime!
When I was little I hated bedtime with a passion. Me and sleep just didn’t mix when I was a child, but the one thing that made turning the lights out worthwhile was the bedtime stories that my mum and dad would read to me in an attempt to get me to sleep in my own bed. (What can I say? I was a nightmare child…)
I would stretch these stories out as long as was humanly possible, not just because I didn’t want to go to sleep, but also because everyone knows that having a bedtime story read to you is one of the best things in the whole world. These stories transported me to a nice, serene world of jolly postmen, ladybirds trying to get home and magic rucksacks before I had to turn the light out and try and sleep in the nasty, scary darkness.
One of my favourite bedtime stories was Peepo! by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. I can still remember the words to it now and whilst it’s probably intended for children up to about 2 years old I remember keeping it for much longer than that. (In fact I still regularly get stuck into it now! Sadly, I’m joking…) It was beautifully illustrated and provides a fascinating and funny insight into life from the viewpoint of a baby boy, plus it rhymes…what more could you want?
Working in a library I still regualrly see this book being borrowed and it always makes me wistful (and feel rather old…)
Another bedtime story that always sticks in my mind and I would read over and over again is The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters which is also by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. In this story the extremely friendly and lovely postman delivers letters to fairytale characters such as the three bears and the wicked witch. The pages contain real envelopes and letters inside which I absolutely adored. I would very carefully take each letter out of it’s envelope, read it, and then very cautiously fold it back up and return it to the envelope from which it came. I was not prepared for these letters to get bent or misshapen and they just HAD to go back into the correct envelopes. *cough* control freak *cough* I seriously can’t imagine a child not loving this book. It was truly magical.
When I was roughly about five I somehow acquired a massive blue book which was called something along the lines of ‘The Bumper Book of 100 Bedtime Stories’. I can’t remember the exact title but I do remember there was one story in there which I was mad about. It was about a young girl and a set of toys (one of them was a phone) that came to life. It breaks my heart that I don’t have this book anymore because I loved it. If anyone had it or remember it then please let me know what it was. I think I annoyed my Mum countless times with this book because I always wanted the SAME story, forget the other 99. In fact maybe she hid it from me so I’d have to read something else… Hmmm… (Only joking, Mum!)
As I got a little older I loved to read stories to my mum and dad instead of having them read to me. My all time favourite has got to be Charlotte’s Web by E.B White. I discovered this book in year 4 when the teacher read it to the class and I just HAD to get my own copy. I could read this book over and over and over and over (and I did.) As an animal lover it was just perfect for me and there was just something about the story that appealed to me greatly. I can’t even look at the cover of this book today without getting that warm, bookish glow from my childhood.
I was also a big fan of Anne Fine. I always liked re-reading two of her books in particular. These two were actually one of those two-in-one books which is probably why I loved them both so much. They were The Diary of a Killer Cat and Jennifer’s Diary. Again, The Diary of a Killer Cat is one we were reading at school. I was desperate to know what happened in the story so I got hold of the book so I could read it before the rest of the class.
I was also slightly obsessed with the Animal Ark series by Lucy Daniels. My favourites were Hamster Hotel, Mouse Magic and Chick Challenge. I always imagined that when I was older I would be like Mandy Hope and help out at a vets like Animal Ark.
The older I got the more I grew to love bedtime because essentially it was a time for stories. A time where I could forget about the day and be transported to another world. Because of my irrational fear of the dark I always had a nightlight on (which also meant I could read and no one would know because the light was always on…RESULT!)
Now of course I bloomin’ love sleep and bedtime is one of my favourite times of the day. I’ve found it to be the perfect time for reading – you don a pair of comfy PJs (preferably adorned with Disney characters) and you can spend an hour or two (or more if you’ve got a really, REALLY good book!) just escaping from the real world for a bit. Reading is the perfect way to relax and there’s no better time to do it in the quiet, dark hours before bedtime.
Which were your favourite bedtime stories? Please feel free to share them and we can reminisce…