Tell me a story

Happy International Children’s Book Day!

Photo by Annie Spratt

When the five little monkeys are ready for bed,

their Mama reads stories, then kisses each head.

“It’s bedtime for monkeys! Now turn out the light.”

“Oh, Mama! Oh, PLEASE! One more story tonight!”

(Five Little Monkeys reading in bed – Eileen Christelow)

Snuggling into bed with warm, sleepy monkeys on either side of me, and sometimes at my feet, my kids and I have read thousands of books. Sometimes, I’m reading aloud. Sometimes they’ve joined in for a page or two… or more. It is our nightly ritual. And, of course, all this reading has been wonderful for sparking imaginations and developing reading skills.

I LOVE reading stories to my kids. And, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the books, too! (Maybe that says something about my juvenile sense of humour…) Oh well, sometimes the simple, sweet message of a children’s book hits the spot.

What’s not to love about the hijinks of an underwear-wearing caped crusader (Captain Underpants), or a discouraged boy named Pete who is being made into a pizza (Pete’s a Pizza), or a funny, big shoe wearing, little red-haired girl who lives with her monkey, Mr. Nilsson? (Pippi Longstocking) I wouldn’t part with those giggles for anything.

Photo by Annie Spratt

In the crazy chaos that is family life, those quiet moments I’ve spent reading to my children have been some of our happiest. Reading has a profound impact on our lives. And, it starts with a children’s book. As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said,

“There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world. Loving books is the best of all.”

In honour of the day, here are lines from some of our favourites. Enjoy!

“When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia. (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst, 1972)

“Then all around from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king of where the wild things are.” (Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak, 1963)

“The Captain says, “Heave-ho me hearties! We’ll soon have our gold back on deck! When they see what pops out, the pirates all shout: “What’s that? It’s a monster! Oo heck!” (Tim, Ted & the Pirates – Ian Whybrow, 2006)

“It’s NOT NOT NOT NOT a box.” “Well, what is it then?” “It’s my not a box.” (Not a box – Antoinette Portis, 2007) 

“Well, they are a taste sensation. Each morsel is a joy! A celebration in a bun! If you’ve never experienced the splendor of a hot dog, you should really….” (The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! – Mo Willems, 2004)

“Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee. Look who’s coming! It’s black-eyed P,     Q, R, S and loose-tooth T.” (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin, Jr., 1989)

“But who tells you to go to bed at night and things like that?” asked Annika. “I tell myself,” said Pippi. “First, I tell myself in a nice friendly way; and then, if I don’t mind, I tell myself again more sharply; and if I still don’t mind, then I’m in for a spanking – see?” (Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren, 1950)

“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!” So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared. And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked. And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked! (The Sneetches – Dr. Seuss, 1961)

“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask you for a glass of milk.” (If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – Laura Joffe Numeroff, 1985) 






2 thoughts on “Tell me a story

  1. Your title “Tell me a story” is the first line in the book “Read Me a Story” by Barbara Reid, the book I read so many times to my children when they were babies. I still cherish our nightly bedtime reading ritual. Now, on the odd occasion, my eleven-year old will tell me she’d rather draw than read with me, and my heart breaks just a little. But the next night we’re back together, snuggled up, reading and making more memories together. Thanks for this post.


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