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Some nights I absolutely love reading my kids a book before bed. Other nights I think I’ll scream if Miss Nerd whips out her tattered copy of Frozen for the 452nd time.
Little Nerd is 7 now, Miss Nerd is 4 – that’s a lot of books to be got through every night! Sometimes, especially when solo parenting, the bedtime routine drives me absolutely bonkers. There are times I am exhausted, irritable, the kids are bickering, they’ve been prolonging dinner time, bathtime, brushing their teeth and packing away their toys and basically doing every single little thing they can to delay the inevitable bedtime. All I want is to get that bedtime story read so I can get them into bed. Sometimes, the bedtime book is the only calm, pleasant spot in a night of nuttiness.
After bedtime reading for almost seven years now, Mr Nerd and I have certainly come to appreciate a good children’s book – the mark of which I believe is a book that BOTH children and adults can re-read over and over, without adults wanting to poke their own eyes out with the corner of a hardcover.
A while ago I shared some of my personal favourite books on Instagram and so many people asked if I could collate them into a blog post for easy reference and gift shopping – so here it is!
Every single one of these books are ones that my kids LOVE while also being books that I think adults will appreciate and enjoy too.
Please tell me if you have any recommendations in the comments, so I can check them out too! We are always looking for new reads.
Tricky’s Bad Day
Poor Tricky – we can ALL relate. He wakes up at 5 to get a drink, wakes up his entire (now cranky and tired) family, and it starts the beginning of Tricky’s bad day, where NOTHING goes right, and everything (and everyone) is irritating to him. Until Mum gets home at the end of the day; and Dad and Tricky escape together. They get their coat and boots to head out in the rain – they can still make this a wild and adventurous day. My friend and mum-of-three Ashlea from Our Sunshine Days recommended this book to me; and it immediately became one of our family’s favourites too. It’s such a great little story and relevant to both kids and adults. Sometimes just getting outside for a run around, even when it’s a windy, cold day, can help you turn your dark mood right around.
This will show you how much Tricky’s Bad Day has permeated. Sometimes when I am in a bit of a funky mood – particularly on a dark, drizzly day when the kids and I have been stuck in the house and we’re driving each other crazy, I find myself gazing outside at the trees blowing in the wind and thinking, “All I need is a run up a hill.” Quoting Tricky’s dad. Also, on a minor note, I love that it is the mum in the book who goes to work that day, and Dad stays home with Tricky and his two younger siblings. Tricky’s Bad Day won the Book of the Year for Early Childhood at the 2019 CBCA Awards.
Janet and Allen Ahlberg
Peepo is one of the best books ever written for babies and toddlers, and I’m sure most people who have read it will agree! It’s a classic. Peepo is one of the many books created by husband and wife team Janet and Allen Ahlberg. They produced more than 100 children’s picture books together, with Allen writing away in a shed in the back garden and Janet painting the illustrations in a loft above the garage, until Janet sadly passed away from cancer when she was 50. Like many of the Ahlbergs’ books, there is something about Peepo that is charming and warm. The most gorgeous detailed illustrations; following a few days in the life of a busy little baby and his loving family, and all the little things he sees around him.
What adds to Peepo’s magic are all the little hints in the pictures, like blimps and helmets – most children wouldn’t think anything of them; adults will realise, that while not mentioned in the text, Peepo is set in London during WWII. (Try not to tear up at the bittersweet last page, when the dad and mum tuck the baby into bed; the dad saying goodnight while dressed in army uniform). We started reading it when Little Nerd was one, when he loved finding things in the pictures, and have enjoyed it with both kids for years since.
I Want My Hat Back
If your sense of humour is on the dry side, like I’ve been told mine is, this is a kids book I think you’ll enjoy. The bonus? It’s a quick read – you’ll whip through it! Perfect for those nights when you can’t wait til the kids are in bed so you can Netflix and chill. The story follows a bear looking for his hat, but no one has seen it. The littlest kids might not quite understand what’s taking place in the pictures; the ones who realise what’s happened will likely be filled with mirth or glee. This book was another recommendation from one of my followers. We must have read it 30 times now and my kids still giggle at it.
The Paper Bag Princess
Written in 1980 and still just as relevant and punchy today, this one is a classic (and another good SHORT book!) It’s about a feisty princess who is also strong and clever – and I love the message of standing up for yourself. Little Nerd and Miss Nerd LOVE the ending. (Prime has free overnight delivery of this one – a good last-minute gift idea!)