We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams… but some dreams just wouldn’t be as good without funny, moving, beautiful or memorable bedtime stories to inspire them. If you’re on the hunt for the very best tales to uplift little minds, here are some of the ones we absolutely couldn’t have grown up without.
The Little Prince
The tale of a prince who lives on a little asteroid and who visits Earth as part of a journey to explore the universe, this profound and beautiful book is so packed with little life lessons and helpful philosophies that it’ll change your life as well as your child’s. Prepare for lots of pre-bedtime discussions.
Our favourite quote: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Where The Wild Things Are
When Max throws a tantrum and gets sent to bed without any dinner, he ends up sailing to a mysterious and magical island where he enjoys a brief spell as king before returning home to find his dinner was waiting all along. A great book for helping your little ones understand feelings of anger and conflict, and for reminding them that you’ll love them no matter what crowd they fall in with.
Our favourite quote: “And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”
The Giving Tree
This sweet tale of an apple tree who gives a little boy everything she can to make him happy is the perfect allegory for being a mum or dad. Read at the end of a hard day to remind yourself that you’re the best parent in the world.
Our favourite quote: “And she loved a little boy very, very much – even more than she loved herself.”
Lots of books on our list have beautiful illustrations but Wonder Bear features some of our absolute favourites. Telling the story of a magical bear who hides a weird and wonderful kingdom inside his hat, these bold and colourful images are perfect for inspiring little artists.
Our favourite quote: Not so many words in this one, just beautiful illustrations to explore.
I Want My Hat Back
Yay, more bears with hats! A bit of a modern classic, I Want My Hat Back is so funny and so perfectly executed that we know adults that own the book who don’t even have children. Follow the journey of a stoic unflappable bear on the search for his stolen hat.
Our favourite quote: “I HAVE SEEN MY HAT.”
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
The ultimate journey in creativity and imagination, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland has been a childhood staple for over 100 years for a reason. The perfect book for performing parents, Alice’s barmy and beautiful adventure is packed with zany characters it’s just too much fun to act out.
Our favourite quote: “You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
If you’re after a whirlwind of nostalgia plus something to make you feel better about your daily snacking habits, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the book for you. The bright colours and fun, hole-filled pages make this an interactive way for kids to learn numbers and days of the week, plus teaching you that you’ll always be beautiful no matter how much you like to eat.
Our favourite quote: “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf…”
Yay, more books with holes! This time a beautiful poem from the legendary Janet and Allan Ahlberg, about all the things a baby sees throughout his day. A lovely read for younger children and a fun way to inspire talk about what your little one has been up to that day.
Our favourite quote: “Here’s a little baby, one, two, three. Sits in his highchair, what does he see?”
Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom
The best books help you learn something and it’s the turn of the alphabet in this bright and bold nineties classic. Perfect for little ones just starting out with letters plus super fun to read.
Our favourite quote: “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, will there be enough room?”
A Book Of Sleep
Finally, what better way to help your little ones get to sleep than with a peaceful, beautifully illustrated book about sleep itself. Quirky drawings and tales of animals sleeping around the world is the perfect fare for helping children discover the land of nod.
Our favourite quote: “When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep…”