An impatient child begging for a bedtime story every night can mean you race through the children’s books that you own in an exceedingly short space of time. One of the ways that this problem can be avoided is by tackling larger books with your child and sticking to a general rule of one chapter a night so that you both get to enjoy the story over a longer period. The books in this category encourage you to read a chapter a day because o f their length and depth.
If you’re looking for a shorter read then investigate The Bedtime Story Finder for an excellent selection of bedtime stories to send your child on their way to the land of nod.
Editor’s Note: See more on our dedicated bedtime story topic page.
The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond
A wonderfully intriguing tale of courage and friendship sure to spark young imaginations. Journey with Paul and Molly as they follow their hearts and enjoy a highly irregular and fantastically unusual journey to find out if the moon really is just a hole in the sky. This story, in both prose and full-colour pictures, will linger in your minds for a long while.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken
Good children battling terrifying adults. This is the kind of book that had me reading with a torch under the covers: it may have a dark aspect to it but it was certainly one I could not put down. Despite the Wolves outside, the real danger is Miss Slighcarp who takes over Willoughby Chase and unfairly punishes cousins Bonnie and Sylvia. The first book in a series of twelve (see The Wolves Chronicles), this is great for children who enjoy getting stuck into one particularly fascinating world.
The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann
The underlying message of Dann’s 1979 novel – the importance of protecting our wildlife, and of working together – is timeless and of particular prevalence today. When their woodland home is threatened, due to planning for new human homes, a group of animals must work together to find another place to live. Taking an Oath of Mutual Protection, the animals, some of whom are born enemies, must club together to protect each other on their journey to an idyllic nature reserve, White Deer Park. Dann handles the realities of this adventure beautifully, with dangers, both natural and manmade, dogging the animals at each stage of their journey. At an age when big questions about death and the circle of life are first coming into children’s awareness, Dann deals with the harsh realities of life with a delicacy that captures the often cruel truth, but triumphs in the hope and determination of the animals’ mutual protection.
The Crowstarver by Dick King Smith
From the writer of The Sheep-Pig, the original inspiration for the feature film Babe, this is a moving story which, in Dick King Smith’s characteristically simple and engaging style, will take young readers on a magical journey. Spider, mysteriously found in a sheep pen, has been raised by a farmer and his wife. As he grows up it becomes apparent that Spider is quite different to the other children, and yet he has a fantastic ability to communicate with the animals he has grown up around. Making him perfect as a Crowstarver, Spider goes on to find his niche in this rural English community.
The Enchanted Horse by Magdalene Nabb
A magical story of a shy, lonely girl who, seeing a small, old and worn horse in the window of a junk shop, simply must take it home. What Irina doesn’t yet know is that this is an enchanted horse; after she takes extra special care of it, at night it will spring into life. Yet real horses are harder to look after than toys, and problems are soon to arise…With beautiful illustrations and a touching message, this classic will have your own little special ones enthralled.
Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman
Cameron Kelsey is running out of time. He’s thirteen and needs a heart transplant. He wants to be able to do all the normal things a thirteen year old can do, but with no human donor available Cameron is given the option of being involved in something groundbreaking, and given a pig heart transplant which will save his life. Cameron agrees, and all seems well… .at first. A powerful and thought-provoking story for older children, Pig Heart Boy deals with a number of important issues including friendship, loss and the desire to fit in.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
A mystery novel, The London Eye tells of Ted, a boy with Asperger syndrome, as he investigates how his cousin, Salim, could seemingly have vanished from inside a sealed capsule on the London Eye. Rich in emotion and filled with twists and turns, this is the ideal story for young readers who like to be kept on their toes, whilst also giving them the space to think about some serious situations and feelings. This novel has won many children’s literature awards, and within only a couple of pages, you’ll quickly see why!
The Savage by David Almond
A boy learns to deal with the death of his father and the bullying that has followed by writing his own story about a Savage living in the nearby woods. Initially this is a secret, but when one night his baby sister is heard crying, he decides to share part of the story with his mother and sister to try to cheer and comfort them. But the more he writes, the more the lines between reality and fiction begin to blur. He writes about getting his own back on the bully, only to find the next day that the bully bears the marks of the attack. How can this be? Has the Savage come to life? In another trip to the woods, the boy ends up learning more about himself than he had expected. A graphic and emotive story, you’ll be best placed as a parent to consider when your child is ready for this one.
Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Could it be? Does Ben’s Grandma really want to steal the Crown Jewels? Find out in this hilarious and moving tale fit for young and old alike. Take a ride on another classic Walliams rollercoaster, and discover the keys to this book’s success, amongst its funny lists and silly words.
The Twits by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is one of the best children’s writers there is. His immensely imaginative worlds are only matched by the despicableness of his characters, and none more so than The Twits. These two especially unscrupulous characters are dirty and smelly, and spend their days thinking of ways to be horrible to each other and mean to animals. But now the animals have had enough, and a lively alliance between birds and monkeys is set to challenge the Twits and their smelly ways.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Published in 1988, Matilda is one of Roald Dahl’s best loved stories. Life isn’t always fair for children, but for one little girl it’s time to take matters into her own hands. A genius surrounded by stupid parents and a bullying headmaster, her magical powers give her the chance to teach them all not to underestimate children.
Is there a book that you and your child eagerly looked forward to reading every day? Let us know which one in the comments section so we can have a read too!