My Top 3 Short Picture Books for Kids When You Need a Quick Bedtime

Updated: Apr 6

If you have read any of my other blogs, you will know I love a good story time and think it is essential to make time for reading aloud with your little ones. I believe it is a time that should be enjoyed together; a time to turn everything else off, a time to snuggle together and a time to unwind after a chaotic day.

Having said this though, I do live a life and totally understand that there isn’t always ‘time’, however hard you try. Sometimes you do need to get children to bed quickly. So in this list I have chosen my three favourite short stories to speed up a night time routine, without sacrificing on reading material!

Please, Mr Panda

By Steve Antony

This is a highly enjoyable book with a simple premise and repetitive structure, that is both engaging and accessible for young readers. I have to say it really is one of my favourites and one that I would happily read a hundred times- which I probably have!

Mr Panda has a selection of brightly coloured doughnuts, which he offers to a number of animals he meets. But when the animals forget the all-important ‘magic words’ Mr. Panda’s response is “No, you cannot have a doughnut. I have changed my mind.” Will anyone have the manners to earn these wonderful doughnuts?

The sparse text and simple illustrations against a grey background means that the story is easy to follow and repeat, which can be a fun activity for little humans to do. My children have loved reading this story to me as they can easily remember the words and get involved with the book. The plot is simple but gets across a really important point about remembering your manners and the potential consequences of letting manners slip!

A simple yet funny picture book, with the potential to introduce the importance of using your manners!

Solomon Crocodile

By Catherine Rayner

This is a story about Solomon Crocodile, a crocodile who irritates all the other creatures in the swamp! He loves making the frogs jump, he bugs the dragonflies and repetitively stalk the storks. Unfortunately, his idea of fun isn’t met with great responses and doesn’t make him any friends. After being told he is a ‘nuisance’ and ‘nothing but trouble’, he sulks away because no one wants to play. When he hears a disturbance among the animals, he is frightened until he realises it is another crocodile. They quickly join forces and become ‘double trouble!’

The author uses descriptive and playful language to describe Solomon’s antics, using repetition to add structure to the plot. I love the illustrations used, with Solomon’s toothy grin always present as he slithers through the swamp playing his tricks, and he appears appropriately chastised, sad or scared as the events unravel.

Another simple but fun book to entertain young children.

The Book With No Pictures

By B.J Novak

This is a playful children’s book that will certainly grab your little one’s attention! B J Novak has created this hugely entertaining book, which has no pictures at all, but only a cleverly-designed text, presented boldly against a white background. He proves his point: that a book with only words can be as amusing and engaging as one with pictures.

This book is extremely silly but very cleverly panders to young kids’ love of funny sounds and made-up words, as well as undignified words such as ‘butt’. The reason kids find so much enjoyment in this book is because you, the reader, end up saying lots of silly things, making all sorts of funny noises and even singing! At the same time, you will be pleading with the child listener to allow you to stop. Any child will take huge delight in this, but it will definitely be enjoyed by both listener and reader!

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