Bedtime for Albie / What Will You Dream of Tonight?

Bedtime for Albie
Sophie Ambrose
Walker Books

Little Albie warthog is one of those annoying creatures that are still full of surplus energy when it’s time for bed.
To delay the inevitable he bounds off in search of other animals to join him in some further frolicking before he succumbs to snuggle time. But the cheetahs,

elephants, and meercats have already begun their sleep-time routines and have no immediate interest in the racing, splish-splashing and digging Albie suggests, so play by himself. he must.

Dusk falls bringing with it all sorts of unfamiliar sounds and then as the stars begin to twinkle, Albie accepts Owl’s “Shouldn’t you be in bed?’ and it’s his ‘mummy’ not playmates that he wants.
Happily the hippos are ready to assist him home just in time for the best part of his bedtime ritual; and suddenly all the others want to join in the fun.

Sophie Ambrose’s wide-eyed animals are absolutely adorable: this is a bedtime book that could easily become part of a fair few little humans’ pre-sleep rituals so I suggest you emulate Albie and ‘skippety trot trit trot’ off to get hold of a copy to share.

What Will You Dream of Tonight?
Frances Stickley and Anuska Allepuz
Nosy Crow

A lilting, almost hypnotic rhyming narrative that talks straight to the young child at bedtime offers all kinds of wondrous dream possibilities.

An ocean dream might have you sailing atop a whale’s tail; on the beach there’s a wrecked ship to explore. Or what about a rocket trip to outer space and the chance to catch your very own star.

Maybe the chance to visit the jungle; take a ride on a polar bear’s back under the sparkling Arctic lights or fly your very own plane above the desert plains would be more fun.

You’d need to be brave and very quiet to enter the lair where a sleeping dragon guards his treasure so perhaps the opportunity to float gently down a woodland stream would be more appealing.

No matter what or where, there’s nothing to fear when you’re tucked safely in bed – so says the mother as she kisses goodnight her daughter.

With gorgeous spreads of each scenario by Anuska Allepuz, this is just right for sending little ones off into the land of nod. Sweet dreams!

Love You Always / Mama’s Work Shoes

Love You Always
Frances Stickley and Migy Blanco
Nosy Crow

There’s a definite autumnal feel to this book portraying the loving bond between a mother hedgehog and her son Hoglet but despite the little hedgehog’s occasional shivers as the two creatures wander home through the woods, this is a warm-hearted tale.

Hoglet notices the season changing and his mother explains that … change makes nature lovlier with every passing day.’ Hoglet then asks, “Mummy … / would you love me more…if I changed?”

As they encounter other mother-child animals – dashing squirrels, fluttering dragonflies, bouncing frogs, fluffy rabbits,

Hoglet asks his question again and on each occasion gets the same response ’I couldn’t love you more’.

Just before they reach home, Hoglet raises the all important “But, Mummy… will love always last forever, / even if I change just like the seasons or the weather?” And as little humans will be eagerly anticipating, her “Always” promise of unchanging love acts as sufficient reassurance to allow her offspring to curl up and having repeated her final ‘Always’ to fall fast asleep.

With its combination of Frances Stickley’s soft-spoken, pleasingly constructed rhyming narrative that mostly works, and Migy Blanco’s richly hued scenes of the autumnal countryside, this is a lovely bedtime story for parent humans and their little ones to snuggle up together with and share just before bedtime.

Mama’s Work Shoes
Caron Lewis and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Abrams Books for Young Readers

Little Perry’s mum has a plethora of shoes, a pair for every occasion and Perry knows them well: the ‘swish-swush’ ones for indoors, the ‘zip-zup’ ones for running and skipping, ‘flip-flop’ ones for sunny days and those that go ‘pat put’ in puddles.

One morning Mum puts on a new pair of shoes that go ‘click-clack, click-clack’. They sound interesting but what could they be for, wonders Perry.
When she discovers they signal the start of a new routine that means she and her Mum are to spend time away from one another, Perry is not happy.

Left with her Nan, the child lets her feelings out with a tantrum.

Eventually of course, Mum comes to collect her and back home they go where eventually Mum’s explanation finally reassures her little one that yes those clickity-clack shoe sounds will take her to work but they’ll always bring her back as fast as ever she can.

With Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s bright mixed media illustrations capturing Perry’s changing emotions, Caron Levis’ story will reassure the very young who like little Perry are faced with a parent returning to work.