Sing-song stories and poems are well known to lull children to sleep, which is why nursery rhymes are so well known and loved. These rhyming stories and poems will effectively send your child to a restful sleep, full of exciting adventure or deep contemplation. With a selection that spans many ages, the books in this category of rhyming stories will most definitely have an option that’s suitable for your child.
If you’re looking for another type of book to suit your child’s preferences than look no further than The Bedtime Story Finder, which has an abundant supply of literature for all.
Editor’s Note: See more on our dedicated bedtime story topic page.
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
This delightful tale follows the misfortunes of the father of the Stick household, Stick Man, as he desperately seeks to be reunited with his loved ones back in the family tree. This fast paced and easy to read adventure soon has children joining in with the storytelling, and the charming illustrations provide a wonderful accompaniment to each funny episode on Stick Man’s journey. Beware though, it may not be long before you find sticks sneaking in to the kids’ beds for a snuggle!
Because a Fire Was in my Head: 101 Poems to Remember edited by M. Morpurgo
Whether little or big, this is a poetry anthology for each one of us to keep to hand; one that you can grow up with, and grow into. Morpurgo has been exhilaratingly bold in his selections, as Shakespeare’s When icicles hang by the wall’ sits alongside Spike Milligan’s playful rhyme On the Ning Nang Nong’; and W. B. Yeat’s Song of Wandering Aengus’ might be followed by the playground favourite Oranges and Lemons’ or the nursery lullaby The Owl and the Pussycat’. This is a collection which embraces life to the full, but is also not shy about including poems that speak to those more difficult and universal human experiences – in W. H. Auden’s Stop All the Clocks’ – or moments of reflection as in Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. With a poem here for everyone, this is a collection you’ll want to keep for life.
Michael Rosen’s A to Z of Nonsense by Michael Rosen
Two wonderful poetry collections by the ever-popular Michael Rosen, recent Children’s Laureate. In A-Z, Rosen brings together the best children’s poets from Agard to Zephaniah, and all in between. This is a great introduction to poetry for children of any age. The Book of Nonsense on the other hand is full of Rosen’s own poems, and you’ll find this pure, delightful nonsense. Covering all sorts of topics, and using repetition, rhyme and exuberant wordplay, this collection will appeal to any child’s sense of humour, and to the child in all of us.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by M. Rosen
Stumble trip! Stumble trip! Stumble trip!’ Join this intrepid family on their adventure through a deep cold river, thick oozy mud and a big dark forest: on a mission to catch a bear! There are many different obstacles to face through the course of the journey, and the pace of Rosen’s writing combines beautifully with the book’s well-loved illustrations to create an experience so vivid that we can almost feel the wind whistling through our hair, and the damp seeping into our socks as we splash, tiptoe and squelch our way from page to page. Perfect for sharing, there is lots of repetition in this story to delight little ones, and the real challenges faced by our bold characters are bound to spark excited discussion amongst older readers. One not to be missed!
Zog by Julia Donaldson
Accompany Zog, the hapless young dragon, as he makes his way through dragon school. Zog is helped out by a mysterious young girl; though she turns out to be a princess, this is not your usual fairytale princess but a strong little person who knows what she wants. There’s a great rhythm to the rhyming language of the book; plenty of opportunity for silly voices, and wonderful illustrations to explore with your little ones. I’ve been reading Zog to my son since he was two, and at five years old, this is still one of his favourites.
I Like This Poem by Kaye Webb and Antony Maitland
This is a fantastic anthology of poems chosen by children for children and is divided up by age from 6-7 year olds to 14. Each poem has a fascinating little note with it from the child who chose it which will inspire you to be adventurous in your own choices: the youngest child chose Double, double, toil and trouble’ from Shakespeare’s Macbeth! There’s fun and nonsense from Pam Ayres, A.A. Milne and Lewis Carroll, as well as hauntingly beautiful poems like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost and a taste of classics by W.H. Auden and Robert Louis Stevenson. A lovely way to finish each day and a book to treasure for years, rediscovered and revisited as your child grows older.
What musical piece of children’s literature lulls your child to sleep without fail? Comment below to tell us all about it.