From Mary Poppins to a lonely monster called Dave, here are some of our favourite bedtime reads so that all ages can enjoy a happy ever after (mum and dad will love them too).
Image by Kate Lewis.
Power to the Princess: 15 Favourite Fairytales Retold with Girl Power by Vita Murrow (Quarto)
This beautiful clothbound anthology takes 15 fairytale favourites and reimagines them for today’s power princesses in the making. From a Prime Minister Cinderella to a world-famous architect Rapunzel, the tales touch upon issues such as self-image, confidence, friendship and disability – an essential for every mini-bookshelf.
Sinbad the Sailor and Other Stories from Arabian Nights illustrated by Edmund Dulac (Bodleian)
It is hard to believe the beguiling Thousand and One Nights is many centuries old. The latest reworking for today’s little adventurers is complete with sumptuous watercolour illustrations. ‘Sindbad the Sailor’, ‘Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp’, ‘The Story of the Three Calendars’ and ‘The Sleeper Awakened’ – it is a wonderful way to ignite their imaginations.
Mary Poppins by PL Travers and illustrated by Lauren Child (Harper Collins)
With the film starring Emily Blunt hitting cinema screens, this beautifully illustrated reissue of the timeless tale is a wonderful and carefully abridged version to curl up with on a cold winter’s night. And the images by Lauren Child (the children’s laureate and creator of Charlie & Lola) really bring it to life.
Once Upon a Wild Wood by Chris Riddell (Macmillan)
My little girls love this razor-sharp tale by the award-winning former children’s laureate, cartoonist and author of Goth Girl books, Chris Riddell. It follows the adventures of Little Green Raincape, who ventures into the woods on her way to Rapunzel’s party. Engaging and energetic, it is packed full of action and has a cast list of familiar characters shown in a new light.
Little People Big Dreams by Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Quarto)
I didn’t have a clue who the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst and Rosa Parks were when I was little, but this elegantly illustrated hardback series describes their world-changing lives so simply that even my three-year-old is transfixed. The latest profiles are primatologist Jane Goodall, philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and author Lucy Maud Montgomery, although there is a whole host of scientists, artists and activists to discover – each one featuring a biographical timeline. It really is brilliant, essential reading.
Dave The Lonely Monster by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
It is hard not to be charmed by this heartwarming tale of a lonely monster named Dave in his dull retirement cave and his unlikely friendship with Sir Percival the Brave. A wonderful message for all of our little monsters to treat others how we want to be treated.
The Girl, The Bear and the Magic Shoes by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (Macmillan)
Footwear fans (myself included) will love the latest magical adventure from the stellar picturebook partnership behind What the Ladybird Heard. Fast-paced, full of colour, action and an unexpected ending – my girls and I love to discuss which shoes we’d choose and where they would take us. It’s definitely one you will find yourself re-reading.
The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig (Canongate)
After his bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig was asked to write a self-help book for children. Instead, he wrote The Truth Pixie. A short and sweet rhyming story about how a special pixie learned to love herself. An introduction to combating bad moods and depression it is aimed at ages 5 – 8 but it’s a heartfelt tale that will be loved by all.