My top ten goodnight books (in no particular order)
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – the mothership of all good-night stories – no list, library or bookshelf is complete without it.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak – probably my all time
favourite book as a kid. It combines my most beloved things –
a night-time adventure, an imaginary city and cake!
Gorilla by Anthony Browne – I didn’t discover this book until my son Walter received it as a birthday present a couple of years ago, but, man,
is it a cool book. I love the illustrations, and it is a perfect example of a story that creates a secret after-dark world that blurs reality with dreams.
Corduroy by Don Freeman – how could you not love a book about toys coming to life in a department store? It’s what any sensible child knows happens at night.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Hans Christian Andersen – definitely my all-time favourite fairytale. Twelve princess sisters sneaking out at night to a magical ball and dancing so much they wear their shoes out – what self respecting little girl wouldn’t go crazy for that?!
Where The Wild ThingsAre by Maurice Sendak – another Sendak classic. He and I are obviously on the same page about the appeal of mischievous children venturing off into the night and arriving home safe by morning. Also I really dig the muted colour pallet of the illustrations.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs – what every child dreams of –
you build a snowman and he comes alive at night to take you flying through the starry sky. Night-time escapade in its ultimate form.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson – a lot of people have compared ‘The Night Parade’ to this book, and I am proud to be mentioned in the same sentence as this time-honoured tale of creativity and moonlit adventure.
The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg – ok so this one’s not a picture book nor is it a bedtime story per say. But it does have the sneaking quality I look for in a book, and spending the night at the Metropolitan Museum is a premise not to
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton – again not exactly a picture book and another English gem that I didn’t discover until after reading it to my kids, but, boy, what a treasure. Children escaping in the night to a magic tree having crazy misadventures with fairies and talking animals – pure genius!
And one more festive read for good luck…
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – Caldecott winner and Christmas classic. This book proves that Santa Claus is the real deal.