Monday 9 January 2023

The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories

The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9780241438220

This is a thick (400+ pp) book of short stories for children, but mostly extracts from books originally published under the Puffin Books imprint. Authors and illustrators include familiar names, such as Michael Morpurgo, Noel Streatfield, Quentin Blake, Mary Norton, and Raymond Briggs. Names which are lesser well-known include Nadia Shireen, Poonam Mistry, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Sophy Henn et al. All together there are 60 creators represented, their names listed on the inside back cover.

Variety is the keyword for this book of bedtime stories with contributors being both classic family favourites and exciting new talents. Most of the book extracts – for instance from The Borrowers, Ballet Shoes, Goodnight, Mister Tom, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Stig of the Dump – are very short. If a child wanted to read the whole book from which the extract is taken, he or she could look at the four-page Acknowledgements page at the end of the anthology. All the stories are illustrated with black and white pictures, often from the original source, so illustrators are familiar – such as Shirley Hughes, Edward Ardizzone, Nick Sharratt, and R. Palacio.

The book is divided into six sections which are headed with the word ‘Dreams’. In keeping with this theme, are often page-long ‘dreams’ written by children (usually about 10 years old), and adults (whose childhood dreams came true).

The child who enjoys dipping in and out of a book, aged from 10+ years, would most likely find this a long, and rewarding book, especially if they are tempted to read books from which the extracts are taken.

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