“It’s important to always read a bedtime story, else how would your dreams know where to begin?”
Bedtime stories should be enjoyable to read and enjoyable to hear. Bedtime stories should be wondrously illustrated and marvelously written. Bedtime stories should be quirky, whimsical, adventurous, humorous and imaginative. Bedtime stories should be special. Bedtime stories should be magical. Because it’s the stuff that children’s dreams are made up of!
1.Winnie, the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh (also called Pooh Bear) is a fictional teddy bear created by the author A. A. Milne. The collection of stories, which include unforgettable characters like Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Christopher Robin, have delighted children for over five decades now. With simple storylines that are entertaining and inspirational, these tales manage to impart invaluable nuggets of wisdom without preaching. Everyday adventures of Winnie the Pooh and his close friends are depicted through simple narration and beautiful illustrations, each story closing with a happy ending and an adorable insight. Winnie the Pooh is an eternal bedtime favorite that continues to find new readers in every generation.
2.Where the wild things are
Where the Wild Things Are, is a 1963 children’s picture book, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The story of Max who runs away from home after an altercation with his mother has so far sold over 20 million books worldwide. Max travels to an imaginary world inhabited by wild creatures that choose him as their leader but he soon tires of the frolics and returns home into his mother’s loving embrace. Perfectly crafted and imaginatively illustrated, this book has often been credited with ushering in the modern era of children’s picture book. Its continuing popularity can be gauged from the fact that in 2012, fifty years after it was first published; it was voted the number one picture book in a reader’s survey by School Library Journal.
3.The very hungry caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s picture book designed, written and illustrated by Eric Carle. It has sold about 30 million copies since its publication in 1969, approximately one copy every minute! The story features a tiny, green caterpillar which hatches from an egg and eats its way through a variety of foodstuffs before pupating and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. This book won many awards for its design, as also for its content and has rightly been tagged as one of the greatest childhood classics of all time. The book introduces several educational themes (counting, days of the week, lifecycle of a butterfly) and has a distinctive collage illustration with “eaten-holes” on pages that the readers can feel their way through during the narration.
This modern children’s classic has been loved by generations of readers and listeners as the perfect bedtime read. The quiet poetry of the text perfectly matches the gentle illustrations as the author wishes a “good night” to everything around: “Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.” Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, this book (first released in 1947) continues to sell about 800,000 copies every year and remains a favourite of children everywhere.
5 .The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is a children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This story of a mouse, taking a walk through a forest has sold over 13 million copies since its publication in 1999. On the way, the mouse is faced with several dangerous animals (a snake, an owl, a fox and a Gruffalo), all of whom he defeats with his cunning. The story revolves around Gruffalo–part bear, part buffalo, part monster–which is introduced by the mouse to scare away his enemies. Written in catchy rhyme, with repetitive lines (Silly old fox/owl/snake, doesn’t he know? There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!), the book is now listed as a modern classic in children’s literature. In 2009, listeners of BBC radio voted it the “best bedtime story” and in a survey by UK charity Booktime, the book was voted the favourite children’s book.
6 .The cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat is a children’s book written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss (Real name – Theodor Geisel) and first published in 1957. The story centers on a cat with a red and white-striped hat that arrives at the house of Sally and her brother. The Cat and his companions (Thing One and Thing Two) attempt to entertain the two children, who are alone at home, but end up wrecking the house. But they also clean up the mess before the mother returns, saving the children from getting into trouble. The book made Dr. Seuss famous and it became the cornerstone of his long, successful career as a children’s writer. The Cat in the Hat also transformed primary education and children’s books; it stood for the idea that reading and language skills should be taught through illustrated storybooks and not wordlists and textbooks.
7 .The Snowman
The Snowman is a children’s picture book, unique among children’s story books in that it is a wordless book and the entire narrative is through illustrations. The illustrations show a boy who builds a snowman one winter’s day. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and the two have a series of adventures, first exploring the boy’s house and then the world outside. All through the night, the two have a rollicking time flying over land and sea but in the morning, the boy wakes up to find that the snowman has melted. The book by Raymond Briggs, which has won countless illustration awards, was first published in 1978.
8.The Velveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams, was first published in 1922. Almost a century after it was first read, this children’s book, continues to weave its magic on readers. The book chronicles the life of a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become ‘real’. After much ado, the toy rabbit becomes real through experience, wisdom and the love of his owner, a little boy. The narrative has a gentle storyline which is perfectly matched by the elegant illustrations. The book has won many awards over the years and in 2007 it was listed in “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.
9.Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine appears in a series of stories created by Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher. While Thomas, a small locomotive steam engine with number 1 painted on his side, became the most popular, the book series introduces many other engines (Percy, Toby, and Gordon) which were almost as popular with little readers. The book series is known for its attention to details; all the locomotives in were based on prototypical engines. When the first story was published in 1946, the author received dozens of letters from railwaymen who loved reading the realistic stories to their children and grandchildren. Almost every story in the series is based on an actual event that happened somewhere, sometime, to some engine. Even today, this railway series sells thousands of copies and is loved by children all over the world.
10.The Story of Babar
Babar is a fictional elephant, who first appeared in 1931 in a French children’s story. After his mother is hunted down, Babar escapes from the forest and ends up in a city. After his education, he returns to the forest and is crowned the King by the elephants. With delightfully amusing illustrations and an exotic narrative, the stories of Babar have a special place in every child’s book collection. After the first translated version of the French story made its way into bookstores, Babar continued to grow in popularity and this series has sold over 8 million books in more than 17 languages.