Tiddler by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Once there was a fish and his name was Tiddler…

And so begins this wonderful rhyming picture book from the author and illustrator combination that gave us The Gruffalo. 

This was actually the very first story we ever read to Pippa and Henry when they were just tiny babies and we all still love it today, in fact Henry chose to read it at bedtime only a couple of days ago. 

It tells the story of Tiddler who, despite his size, tells the most wonderful stories as the reason for him being late to school. Then one day he really does have an adventure and the power of storytelling is instrumental in bringing him home safely. 

This is lovely to read aloud with a rhythm that’s easy for children to pick up and join in with. It is also a great book for playing around with voices for the different characters! The illustrations as usual from Axel Scheffler are fabulously engaging and include lots of little details – can you spot the Gruffalo fish? 

Overall this is a perfect bedtime book which I’m certain we will all continue to enjoy for years to come! 


Hubble Bubble series by Tracey Corderoy

Pippa originally introduced us to the world of Granny Trouble (or Granny Bubble as she calls her!) when she chose to spend her World Book Day voucher on ‘Hubble Bubble, Messy Monkey Business. This was pretty much initially based on the fact it has monkeys on the front cover and Pippa loves monkeys! We did read the blurb to her and she liked the idea of a Granny who gets up to mischief! 

This book (and the entire series) is about a girl called Pandora whose Granny is (whisper it) a witch. Together they have lots of fun when Granny’s spells don’t always go to plan! Granny Trouble’s magic is often used to ‘help’ in situations with funny consequences for Pandora and her friends. 

After Messy Monkey Business we managed to find two more at the town library – Wacky Winter Wonderland and Super Spooky Fright Night. All 3 were beginner chapter books with lovely 3 colour illustrations on each page. There were 2 or 3 stories in each book, split into usually 4 shorter chapters. Pippa and I found 2 chapters was a good length for bedtime although occasionally we read a whole story. 

Pippa really enjoyed these books, she sustained her concentration well and liked that there were lots of pictures too. The stories are amusing and the characters likeable. Pippa really liked it that Granny made magical things happen, especially if they went a bit wrong! 

Our bedtime story today was another of the Hubble Bubble series – this time ‘Spells a Popping, Granny’s shopping’. I hadn’t read the details properly when ordering this one (Pippa just chose the picture of the one she would like) so was quite surprised to see it is a picture book.

This made no difference to Pippa, the characters were the same and Granny caused all sorts of mischief in the supermarket so she was really happy. The fact monkeys featured was a bonus! It was a rhyming book and easy to read in one sitting. I actually liked the fact it was a slightly different style to the previous 3 we had read. An added bonus was that due to it being a picture book, Pippa was really enthusiastic about being able to have a go at reading it herself tomorrow. 

After reading it, I did a bit of research on others in the series and it seems as though this is one of the earlier books which was a picture book format and there are a couple of other picture books too. With those and the other chapter books yet to read, we still have a lot more Granny Trouble to look forward to at bedtime! 

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl 

This is one of Roald Dahl’s books that I don’t really remember reading as a child so looked forward to sharing it at bedtime with Henry. 

He can be quite sensitive sometimes and often picks up on emotions in books, however I wasn’t prepared for him to be quite so upset after the first chapters and wondered whether this was the right book for him. When I asked him what was wrong, he simply said “James has no one to play with and that’s sad”. 

He cheered up a few chapters later and said he liked that Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge were squashed because they were mean! 

The chapters vary a lot in length so it was often hard to say how much we read at each bedtime. Henry likes all of Quentin Blakes illustrations and we often talked about each of the pictures. 

Henry said his favourite character was all the animals and James – he couldn’t choose. He also said he liked the happy ending and was especially pleased James now has friends. 

As an adult I found this book to be one of the strangest of Roald Dahl’s with some odd events and characters such as the Cloud Men. Henry however soaked it all in and seemed to really enjoy all the whimsical bits so overall a winning bedtime story! 

Dixie O’Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy 

We have read and enjoyed many of Shirley Hughes’ picture books so when we spotted this book in the library we were very keen to have a read! 

It is an early chapter book targeted for developing readers with lots of illustrations on every page. This makes it a perfect bedtime book for Pippa who can struggle to keep her concentration to listen to large blocks of text. 

The story features our hero Dixie and his sidekick Percy. They are extremely likeable characters and in this book they feature in a wacky races style car race complete with a ‘Penelope Pitstop’ type baddie to add to the mischief. 

The chapters are a good length to read one or two per bedtime and each often has a cliffhanger which kept us both keen to read on. 

A great fun read, we shall be looking out for more Dixie O’Day adventures. 

Eeeeeep!! (Or Polly and the Puffin books!) by Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is probably most well known for her adult ‘chick lit’ books, however, more recently she has dipped her toes into children’s stories. 

Her ‘Little Beach Street Bakery’ books feature the adorable Neil the Puffin and this is the character Jenny Colgan has based her children’s books on. 

We read the first book to Pippa at bedtimes earlier last year and the second book conveniently was published near to Pippa’s birthday! The most recent book was on pre-order as soon as was possible! 

Currently there are just the 3 books featuring Neil and his human friend, the little girl Polly who originally rescues him. Each of the stories focuses on an aspect of Polly’s life such as starting school which are perfect for a child of Pippa’s age to relate to. 

The illustrations are very appealing in only two colours and the stories themselves are a perfect length for one (longer) or two bedtime story sssions. 

Pippa really enjoyed all 3 stories and the fact that each of the books has lots of extra activities at the back (colouring pictures, recipes, jokes etc). She loves Neil and his Eeeeep noise! She also really liked the fact that her bedtime story was written by a lady who writes books that mummy reads and that Neil is in those too! Eeeeep! 

A familiar favourite – Roald Dahl so far…

Last summer Pippa and Henry took part in the library Summer Reading Challenge for the first time. They were not reading themselves yet but we read to them and they happily told library staff and volunteers about the stories we had shared. The theme last year was Roald Dahl to celebrate his centenary year. Pippa and Henry were thrilled each visit to collect another picture card showing a different Roald Dahl character. 

This inevitably lead to questions about who each of them were and what the stories were about. When in the library one day, Henry picked up a copy of ‘The Magic Finger’ and our first Roald Dahl book was chosen! 

The Magic Finger only took us a few nights to read and Roald Dahl had spun his spell on Henry who straight away wanted to read another. A quick search on the bookshelves at home uncovered a copy of George’s Marvellous Medicine – one both my husband and I loved as children. 

George’s Marvellous Medicine was great fun to read with Henry, he enjoyed all the different ingredients George finds and the reactions Grandma and the animals have to each version. 

Over the following months Henry continued to choose other Roald Dahl books, borrowing from both the town and school library as well as putting his World Book Day token toward purchasing ‘The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me’. 

He also received audio CD versions of some of the books for Christmas and re-listens during the day to ones we have previously read. 

So far our Roald Dahl bedtime books have been: The Magic Finger, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Enormous Crocodile, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Esio Trot and The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me. 

Henry loved all of the books and his favourite often changes, although Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG seem to get mentioned often. 

When I asked Henry he said he likes Mr Wonka and loves the bit in the BFG when they meet the Queen and the BFG whizzpops! 

The language in all the stories is great fun, especially the BFG. All the content has been appropriate for Henry and he is starting to appreciate lots of the funny parts. 

Our current Roald Dahl bedtime read is James and the Giant Peach and we only have a few chapters to go…

Bedtime books 

Hi and welcome to my bedtime books blog.

I am a mum to 5 year old twins (Pippa and Henry) who started school in Reception this academic year. My husband and I have always read to them both at bedtime and as a family we have many favourite picture books that are re-read time and again.

However more recently, at bedtime, both children have been keen to read longer ‘chapter’ books and we have began to discover a whole new world of bedtime stories!

My aim for this blog is to keep a record of the books we read to the twins at bedtime and to give both their and our thoughts and reactions to each of the books. Many will continue to be picture books as these will have a place for a long time to come but we are all looking forward to some new adventures!