Our Favourite Bedtime Books

Favourite Bedtime Books to Read to My Child

Before I became a parent, I had beautiful images of me sitting in a rocking chair, my child in my lap, as I read them a bedtime story each night before I lay them in their cot to sleep. It was how I had always imagined our nighttime routine would go – and then I had my firecracker daughter.

My plan started off so well. When she was a little baby, I would give her a bath, before drying her off and getting her dressed into her cosy pyjamas and snuggling up on the chair in her bedroom to read a story together. The problem was, the older she got the less likely she was to actually sit down and listen, and in my rush to get her to bed, we found ourselves forgoing the nightly story in favour of a peaceful bedtime routine (bath, bottle, bed).

After a couple of weeks like this, it saddened me that we were losing that time together, so I decided to give it another crack, without forcing it. We set up a sling bookshelf in our living room with a selection of Cassie’s books in display where she could see and reach them. Before (or sometimes after) bathtime and dinner each night, I tell her to go over and pick one out and come sit with me to read it. And she does! I am amazed that given the choice and the freedom, she is happy to sit down for a story. Here is Cassie’s pick of favourite books to read each night – in other words the books I have been reading over and over to her on request.

Hooray For Fish by Lucy Cousins

I think Cassie’s obsession with fish came from daycare. They have a tank set up and everytime I drop her off and pick her up, she insists on saying hello and goodbye to the fish on her way through. When I came across this book, I knew she would love it, and the book hasn’t let me down so far. There are lots of beautiful, bold illustrations to keep a little one entertained and focused, and the minimal choice of words makes it so easy to read and keep Cassie interested. We point things out as we go, like the red fish and the blue fish, and have great fun enjoying this story together. We almost ALWAYS make it to the end.

Guess How Much I Love You (Puppet Book), by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

Cassie’s love of this book really comes as no surprise considering there is a giant puppet sticking out the front of it. When we first started reading it, she would laugh and laugh as I use the nutbrown puppet to tickle her on all the different body parts mentioned (toes, nose, under the arms, etc). Now Cassie considers herself old enough to use the puppet herself. Sure, it does make reading the book a little tricker, but once again, it keeps her entertained and has gone a long way in teaching her all the different body parts too.

That’s Not My Puppy

Really, we could pick out any book from the ‘That’s Not My...’ series and claim it as Cassie’s favourite. She just adores each and everyone of them, and for good reason, they are really hands on. Each pages has something new for Cassie to touch and feel and I have to slow her down when we are reading together and she just wants to flip through them as quickly as possible. The dog probably is her favourite, simply because loves dogs. She will walk over and bring the book too me repeating the word “Dog” as she does.

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Alpha Block by Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo

Now this is one book I never would have expected to become one of Cassie’s favourite for the simple reason it is an alphabet book. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against alphabet books, I just never thought they could captivate a toddler for long, but this one has magic powers. The cardboard cutout of each letter makes it visually appealing and greats a ‘lift the flap’ style book. Cassie makes it all the way to M without moving, and that is a big deal for us!

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

Ok, I am going to be honest with you, I am not sure whether this is one of Cassie’s favourite books through her own choosing, or because I love it and read it to her all the time anyway. It really is the most gorgeous story and the message is simple and clear – don’t be worried about making mistakes as they can be turned into something beautiful. There are flaps to lift, things to touch and paper to scrunch, keeping the little ones entertained as you go. The only downside, it’s quite a delicate book and struggles to withhold some of Cassie’s rougher play, but it is great for teaching her a lesson in being gentle with things!

If you have a cheeky toddler like mine who isn’t keen on sitting still for two long, don’t be discouraged. Let them choose their books (maybe with a little prodding in the right direction) and if they jump off your lap to go do something else, keep reading! They will find their way back to hear the rest of the story and your perseverance will eventually pay off. Books have so much to teach our little ones and it is so important to instil a love of reading from such a young age. Reading is and should be fun, so let’s keep it that way.

Felicity Frankish


Felicity Frankish

Felicity Frankish is married and a mum-of-one to a little girl, living in the suburbs of Sydney. Having worked with children all her life and also having a great a love for writing, Felicity combined her two passions when she was on maternity leave and set up her own parenting blog: The Baby Vine. She survives day to day on coffee, loves keeping busy, and enjoys getting out an about on her...

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