Bedtime is such a lovely story time theme. Invite your audience to wear their pyjamas, or hold an evening PJ story time session.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

Written and Illustrated by Mo Willemspigeon stay up late
Published by Walker Books, 2007

The pigeon returns in another fun book, this time, trying to persuade the reader to let him stay up late. The audience is asked to make sure the pigeon does not stay up late while the narrator goes to brush his teeth. The pigeon enters from the right hand side of the next double page spread, declaring he is not even tired. He then tries every thing to persuade the reader to let him stay up late, all of which have been used by many youngsters over time and I am sure will be familiar to the young audience. All verbal text, in speech bubbles, is directed to the viewer. The ever changing expression in the pigeon’s face is hilarious as he becomes more tired.

Children love to join in with the Pigeon books. When the audience is asked their opinion, there is always a resounding NO!

Story time activity idea:

  • Discuss bedtime routines with the audience. Have you ever tried to stay up late?


Written by Sally Symesyawn
Illustrated by Nick Sharratt
Published by Walker Books, 2011.

Sean yawns a big yawn, passing it to the cat, who then passes the yawn to the bird, and on the passing goes until they all fall into bed. This fun, rhyming, large format picture book is perfect for a story time crowd. With the verbal text on the left hand page and the illustrations on the right, the story flow is linked with a large hole in each page. On the right hand side, the hole is the wide open mouth of each animal’s yawn while the left hand page shows the letters AW from the word ‘yawn’. What a brilliant introduction for young ones to the wonders of the written word.

Story time activity idea:

  • Make a game of concentration with the adjectives used for the animals and the animals’ names e.g Cat – sruffy, fluffy.
  • In the classroom, make word lists to describe the animals from the book, or the children’s favourite animals. Have the students use a number of these words in their writing.

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Written by Mem Foxgood night sleep tight
Illustrated by Judy Horacek
Published by Scholastic Australia, 2012

Bonnie and Ben are being looked after by Skinny Doug, their favourite babysitter. As he is putting them to bed he tells them a rhyme. They love it and want him to repeat the rhyme, but he says a different rhyme. He is again asked to repeat the rhyme, and again says a different one. This goes on for quite some time, with a variety of rhymes, until Bonnie and Ben finally settle to sleep.

Story time activity ideas:

  • Act out the rhymes
  • Say other rhymes the children know
  • Ask regular story time families from different cultures to share their rhymes with the audience.

Where is Bear?where is bear

Written and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
Published by Little Hare Books, 2016.

A young boy is ready for bed, but he cannot find Bear. He looks everywhere, in the car, on the swing, in the bathroom, but he cannot find him. On every page the reader sees a big bear, out of sight of the boy. The boy asks the audience “Have you seen bear?”, enabling the audience to join in with the story. When bear is eventually found there is a little twist for the audience, before they all settle for the night. This is a gorgeous read aloud for bedtime, inviting audience involvement in the storytelling. Full double page spreads fully engage the audience, further inviting them to be involved.

Story time activity idea:

  • Have the children bring in their favourite teddy bear.

Goodnight Tiptoe

Written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Published by Walker Books, RRP $16.99 (AUD)

It is time for bed for Tilly and her friends. She gets them ready, one by one, but Tiptoe is not tired. He helps clean Doodle’s teeth, has a bedtime story read to him, until finally he is sleepy. But when Tilly goes to bed there is no one to tuck her in, until Tiptoe comes to her aid. A lovely book with a simple narrative structure for a young audience. Perfect for story time or at home when your little one is having trouble settling for the night.

Story time activity idea:

Time for Bedtime for bed

Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Jane Dyer
Published by Omnibus Books, Scholastic.

An oldie but a goodie, this gem has been a part of my picture book collection for years. Each double page spread shows a baby animal with a parent as they get ready for sleep. There is a mouse, horse, sheep, goose, and an array of other animals. The lyrically rhyming text is soothing and gentle, just what is needed for a bedtime story.

“It’s time for bed, little fish, little fish,
So hold your breath and make a wish”

Rockabye Piraterockabye pirate

Written by Timothy Knapman
Illustrated by Ada Grey
Published by Bloomsbury Books

This fun rhyming book will be perfect to help settle a piratey young one to sleep, or for a story time session with a crowd. Easy flowing rhyme is accompanied with fun illustrations as a  mother settles her little pirate boy for sleep. Follow this links to my full review.