This is the next post in my series of fiction book recommendations based on topic work in schools.
This list is about night and night time.
The list is slanted at Key Stage One and Infant/Reception Classes. Where I can find information on the topic for older children I will provide recommendations and links. I will only comment on age appropriate material and/or suitability for boys or girls where appropriate. If I haven’t mentioned these things, the book is appropriate for all ages and both boys and girls.
Please feel free to add your own recommendations either by e-mail or in the comments box below.
As always, I will tell you if I have read the book. If I do not mention it specifically, then I have not read it, and you are advised to read all material yourself before teaching/sharing the book or books with children to ensure that it is suitable.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak – By the author of Where The Wild Things Are, this is a picture book that tells the story of Mickey, who fell through the night into the night kitchen where he has a surreal adventure with Laurel and Hardy and bread dough and aeroplanes.
Night of the Moon Jellies by Mark Shasha – This book is aimed at 3-8 year olds, and one reviewer remarks that it is perfect for boys. I think it would work well for either sex. It tells the story of the author’s memories of a night spent with his Gram on board a boat, watching a sea full of shimmering moon jellies.
It Was A Dark And Stormy Night by Janet Ahlberg – The classic tale of a small boy who is captured by a bunch of adventuring thieves, and much like The Arabian Nights is forced to tell them entertaining stories to save his own life. It is funny and has wonderful illustrations. It is quite long and would work well as a book that is read aloud to the class by a teacher, in Key Stage One. It would be fine for confident readers aged seven and up. It would make a good Guided reading book either for the topic of night time or the topic of story telling and fairy tales.
Alone in the Night by Holly Webb – This is part of the Holly Webb Animal Stories collection – It tells the story of Jasmine, who is given a kitten, much to her joy. She finds out that the kitten has a secret. Star, the kitten, must leave Jasmine and go out into the night on her own.
One Nighttime Sea: An Ocean Counting Rhyme by Deborah Lee Rose – This is a beautiful picture book for early years and nursery aged children, teaching rhyme through exploring the sea at night. The illustrations are gorgeous.
I See The Moon by Jacqueline Mitton – A story about animals from around the world watching the moon in all its different shapes and phases.
I Am Not Sleepy And I Will Not Go To Bed by Lauren Child – The now classic picture book about Charlie and his younger, mischievous sister Lola. Charlie is in charge of bed time, and Lola really does not want to go. Lola tries to think of as many excuses as she can for not going to bed, and Charlie has to come up with clever counter arguments for them all.
The BFG by Roald Dahl – The BFG is the Big, Friendly Giant who sneaks his way across the night time landscape, using his magical trumpet and bottled dreams to give good dreams to sleeping children. One night, a small girl called Sophie, who lives in an orphanage, cannot sleep. She sees the BFG making his way down her street, and he steals her away, taking her back to his cave in the land of the giants, where they become fast friends and foil a plot by the other, evil giants to eat hundreds of helpless children. This has illustrations by Quentin Blake and is a wonderful tale that can either be read out loud to younger children from reception to year 2, or given to independent readers further up the school. It is suitable for guided reading sessions, and is great for topic work because it is available in many formats, as well as a great deal of activity ideas being available on the internet.
Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton – This is a beautifully illustrated picture book which introduces young children to the idea of the constellations and how to look for them, by illustrating the animal themed constellations as well as showing the star chart positions for them. It is suitable for primary school children of all ages, depending on how you want to pitch the learning you attach to the stories.
Once Upon A Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton – A companion book to Zoo in the Sky this tells the stories of the legends behind ten of the constellation names. It includes the story of Perseus and Hercules, Argo and Andromeda as well as others. It contains beautiful illustrations, and the stories and information mean that it is again suitable for all primary aged children depending on how in depth you want to be about how you teach the children what you are reading to them.
The Planet Gods by Jacqueline Mitton – The third in the series which also contains Once Upon a Starry Night and Zoo in the Sky, this tells the stories behind the planets that make up the solar system.
I Don’t Want to Go To Bed by Julia Sykes – This is one of the classic Little Tiger stories. In this story Little Tiger puts off going to bed for as long as possible.
The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go To Bed by Helen Cooper – The baby refuses to go to sleep no matter what his mother says. He revs up his car and sets off on a long and fantastical adventure into the night time landscape.
Surprise, Surprise! By Michael Foreman – Little Panda is afraid of the dark. He has a special night light to keep the dark away. Then he decides to give his mum a plant for her birthday. It needs light to grow, so he hides the plant in the attic away from his mum, and gives the plant his night light. The story is about how Little Panda gets brave without his light, and how the night isn’t so scary after all.
Bedtime for Little Bears! By David Bedford – After a long day in the snow baby polar bear should be ready for bed, but he just can’t settle. He and his mum set off on a walk to see how all the other animals are getting ready for bed.
I Don’t Want To Go To Bed! By Tony Ross – This is one of the classic Little Princess stories, which is suitable for both nursery and Key Stage One children. It tells the story of the stubborn little princess and all the things she does to wriggle out of going to sleep.
I Want My Light On! by Tony Ross – Another Little Princess story, and a companion piece to I Don’t Want to Go To Bed!
Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones by Claire Freedman – A rhyming story in which all the baby animals are beginning to snuggle up for the night. This is more suitable for Early Years/Reception than Year 1 and 2 primary.
Say Goodnight to the Sleepy Animals by Ian Whybrow – A book probably more suitable for Early Years than Years 1 and 2 primary, in which a ginger cat makes her way around the farm yard saying goodnight to all the different animals as they settle down for the night.
On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman – A story that celebrates all the wonderful things that happened on earth on the night you were born.
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell – One of the classic Little Bear stories, in which Little Bear is afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to go to sleep.
Peace At Last by Jill Murphy – This is one of Murphy’s most well known books, all about Mr. Bear and his failure to get to sleep next to his snoring wife. All night, Mr Bear moves from room to room until he finally gets to sleep just as morning comes.
Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy – In this story, baby bear has an imaginary adventure, creating his own space rocket and whooshing up the chimney into the night sky. He travels to the moon where he has a picnic with his friend owl, and still manages to arrive home in time for bed.
Funnybones by Allan Ahlberg – Two skeletons, and their skeleton dog, go out to play in the quiet night of the town as everyone else is asleep.
How To Catch A Star by Oliver Jeffers -The story of a boy who loves the stars so much he decides to catch one of his very own.
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep by Joyce Dunbar – Small bunny Willa is afraid to go to sleep in case she has a bad dream, her brother Willoughby tries to soothe her fears by telling her something lovely before she falls asleep.
It’s Time to Sleep, My Love by Nancy Tillman – A lullaby style story to settle children to sleep.
Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field – The classic lullaby poem by Eugene Field.
By Lantern Light by Cat Weatherill – Robbie Rabbit and his dad help the creatures of the forest as they take a night time walk with their lanterns.
Good night, Mr. Night by Dan Yaccarino – This book is currently out of print, but is available second hand from Amazon. Mr. Night is making his rounds, walking round the world, shutting up the flower petals, saying goodnight to the birds and animals and making sure everyone is settled down for the evening.
Night Monkey, Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson – Night Monkey and Day Monkey’s lives are nothing like each other. They visit each other, learning about each other’s habits and worlds and learn to become friends in the process.
The Night Pirates by Peter Harris – One night Tom is woken up by noises outside his house. It turns out to be pirates, and he jumps out of his window to join them on their night time adventure.
At Night by Jonathan Bean – An adventure picture book about some children who live in a city who spend the night sleeping on the roof of their house, exploring the night sky and activity of the city. This book is currently out of print, but is available second hand through Amazon.
Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew – This is one in a series of books in which Katie, the heroine, explores art from a child’s point of view. In this story she reaches into Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. This version is currently out of print but is available through Amazon as a second hand copy.
Imagine A Night by Robert Gonsalves – An artistic and fantastical journey into what might happen in the night.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen – One of a series of books involving dinosaurs in domestic situations. Here the different dinosaurs are all getting ready for bed.
Molly and The Night Monster by Chris Wormell – Molly wakes in the middle of the night to hear a sound. What can it be? Her imagination runs away with her.
Night Time Tale by Ruth Brown – This tells the story of Little Bear’s nightmare as he plunges through a dream world of all the fairy stories he has ever read. One reviewer describes it as dark and frightening, even though it is a child’s picture book.
Night Shift by Jessie Hartland – This is a picture book puzzle about people who do lots of different night time jobs.
Good Night Little Sea Otter by Janet Halfman – Little sea otter drifts to sleep in his mother’s arms, and calls goodnight to all the other sea creatures.
Cat’s Night Out by Caroline Stutson – Two cats on Easy Street start a party, and by the end of the night, all the other cats have joined in.
A Night Time Story by Robert Aliaga – A child is lulled to sleep as the night time sits by his bed and reads him stories. His dreams tell the rest of the tale.
The Night Horses by Anaka Jones – This is the story of how animals behave differently at night when their owners are away. It depicts all the sensible things they have to do in the day when they are working on the farm, and all the fun things they do at night when their owners are safely tucked up in bed.
Mog in the Dark by Judith Kerr – This is one of the classic series of tales about Mog, the Forgetful Cat. It is night time, and Mog does not want to be in the night. But she uses her imagination to go on a fantastic journey.