If you go across to visit Erasmus the Alaskan cat's blog, you will find a lovely post about bedtime stories for children. Val asks for suggestions for books that are not too scary or exciting for bedtime and will hold the interest of a 5 year old and a 7 year old. There is a two and a half year age difference between my children, so I tried to remember what I used to read to them when they were 5 and 7.
I think bedtime books should be well-illustrated and short enough to read in one sitting. You can't go wrong with any book by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. The older child will find plenty in the illustrations to amuse and intrigue them so they won't consider the text too babyish.
Jill Murphy is another guaranteed hit with fabulous illustrations and storylines to get the children talking, such as the notion that elephants are meant to be fat and should not be deprived of cake.
Elephants feature in a lot of children's books and The Elephant and the Bad Baby was one of our favourites. Twenty-five years on from our first reading it, we all still chorus "But he never once said please!" when we think someone has less than perfect manners.
Peter and the Wolf is a story that works with children of all ages. As they get to know the instruments that represent each character, it can become a real performance - perhaps not quite the thing for calming them before bedtime!
This was one of our favourite collections of fairy tales, with wonderful illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac. Kay Nielsen and Warwick Goble.
We have always loved playing with language, so The Cat in the Hat books were popular and another favourite that I can't find about Max Yak. That went something like, Max Yak with sack on back, hiked to Hackensack and back. Don't Forget the Bacon is a wonderful example of this genre with the androgynous child (always a help if you are reading to one of each!) trying to remember a shopping list.
If the house had been burning and the children could only save one book, then it would have been Dogger. It was read over and over again. It went on holiday and into hospital, and even on to university. I had to buy several copies to ensure that there was always one to hand and now I have a brand new one; I'm sure Millie will love it and Brit Junior will probably have memorised it by his/her first birthday.
And let us not forget the poetry books. This particular anthology has 572 poems so every age and interest can be satisfied.
I have really enjoyed this little nostalgic rummage around the bookshelves. Do tell me about your own particular favourites or leave some recommendations on Val's blog.