Book Doctor

A Spoonful of Bedtime Stories

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There is nothing quite as magical as reading favourite picture books with your own children. And what’s more they love it too! Those 20 minutes curled up at the end of a hectic day, to share tales of magical lands and larger-than-life characters, are the perfect antidote to stress.  

It’s never too late or too early to start reading aloud to your child. Many parents focus on the early primary school years as the crucial time to practise reading but even tiny babies adore the comforting sound of a parent’s voice whispering stories, rhyming lullabies and making funny voices. Repetitive reading of picture books is essential for young toddlers as they develop their speech and vocabulary, and even when children have mastered reading for themselves they still need stories read aloud to them so they can pick up correct pronunciation (and have someone to cuddle when Harry Potter encounters mortal enemies).

A 2015 Harvard University Study found that the benefits of parents, particularly dads, reading aloud to their children are immense.  Elisabeth Duursma, who conducted the research by observing parents and children for over a year said: "The impact is huge, particularly if dads start reading to kids under the age of two.” She found that men and women approach the task differently, with women more likely to ask factual questions, such as, “How many apples do you see?” and men favouring more abstract questions which sparked imaginative discussion.

Of course, everyone emphasises storytelling in their own ways and no two readings are alike. The habit of bedtime reading creates a wonderful space for children and parents to share jokes, marvel at imaginative tales and focus entirely on each other. Best of all, kids are a very appreciative audience for all those silly voices.

Here are a few Scribblers Book Doctor recommendations for bedtime reading.

Don’t forget to bring your Scribblers Festival Field Notes for a 10% discount at participating stores, and click on the highlighted links to hear these Scribblers authors chat with our team of teen podcasters from our very own Conversation Caravan.


Tiny Tots:

Time For Bed – Mem Fox

The Very Hungry Caterpillar– Eric Carle

Peekaboo – Janet& Allan Ahlberg

Who Sank the Boat?– Pamela Allen

Zoom – Sha’an D’Anthes



Toddlers & Little People

The Gruffalo –Julia Donaldson

The Magic Beach –Alison Lester

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Mem Fox

The Owl & the Pussycat – Edward Lear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?  - Bill Martin

Classic Fairy Tales– Hans Christian Anderson


Words and Pictures

Josephine loves to Dance – Jackie French

Hairy McClary series – Lynley Dodd

Cat in the Hat –Dr Seuss

Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems

The Book That Never Ends -  Matt Stanton

The Snail and the Whale – Julia Donaldson

That’s Not the Monster We Ordered – Richard Fairgray


A Few More Words and a Few Less Pictures

The Twits – Roald Dahl

Matilda – Roald Dahl

The Worst Witch –Jill Murphy

Yours Truly, Alice Toolie – Kate & Jol Temple

Funny KidMatt Stanton


Happy Readers Who Still Need a Dose of Encouragement

Charlotte’s Web –E.B White

George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

The Magic Faraway Tree– Enid Blyton

The Day My Bum Went Psycho – Andy Griffiths



Rollicking Reading Adventures to Share.

The Chronicles of Narnia -  C.S Lewis

The Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Rumble Star – Abi Elphinstone

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snickett

The Princess Bride– William Goldman

The Hobbit – J.R Tolkien


Special Ones for Dads and Kids

Bad Dad – David Walliams

Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl

Guess How Much I Love You?  – Sam McBranty

My Dad – Anthony Browne

The Very Cranky Bear– Nick Bland

To Kill a Mocking Bird– Harper Lee