The Saturdays star and mum of two shares her favourite bedtime stories.
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson
My son Parker (2) loves this book because it rhymes. We read it most nights. It’s about a little mouse and all the other animals, including a snake, an owl and a fox, who want to eat him. He repeatedly tells the animals that he’s off to see the Gruffalo - a fictional half-bear half buffalo-style creature – and the animals leave him alone. Then the mouse actually meets a Gruffalo and convinces him not to eat him, by saying how scary he is and proves it by going back into the forest. This book teaches children not to be scared and to believe in themselves however small they might feel. Oh, and not to talk or go home with strangers!
Five Minutes’ Peace, by Jill Murphy
My mum used to read this to me and my sister Victoria and I loved it as a child. When I was pregnant with Parker, Mum said she wanted to buy all the books we’d read as children for him, so this was a gift from her. The book features a selection of stories about a family of elephants called the Large family. In one of the stories the mum is trying to have a bath so she tells the children to go off and do their own thing. One by one they come in and interrupt her - one wants to read a story, another wants to play an instrument. As a mum I can relate to that need for peace! Looking back, maybe Mum was trying to get the message through to us!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
This book is a classic. The caterpillar eats everything, gets bigger and bigger through the week, then turns into a beautiful butterfly. It’s a straight-forward, easy story, so great for young children. It’s also colourful and interactive because children can put their fingers through the holes in the pages. I’ve read this to Parker once, so I can’t wait until he’s into this more because it’s my favourite!
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
I love this family. They go through grass, a river and a forest and say ‘we’re not scared’ a lot during their bear hunt. It’s descriptive and full of verse, which I like because I get bored if it doesn’t rhyme. Then I feel a lot of pressure to make it sound interesting! This story promotes family values and being together, which I hope Parker understands because we go on bear hunts too.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, by Robert Southey
I like that this book is very repetitive, and it sticks in your head. Goldilocks tries all the chairs, then tastes all the different bowls of porridge, finally she tries out all the beds and eventually falls asleep in baby bear’s bed. Then the bears come in, she screams and runs away. Thank goodness she was found by baby bear! It’s simple and proof that some of the oldest stories are still the best.
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