Cáca don Rí written by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde and illustrated by Steve Simpson

We weren’t specifically looking for a book as Gaeilge but when we spotted Cáca don Rí by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde Little P was instantly drawn to Steve Simpson’s vibrant illustrations. Rúbaí Rua is a star baker bunny and people come from miles around to sample her macaroons, her meringues, her pancakes and her pies. She has some special mouse pals who love living in the bakery with Rúbaí but they don’t get much chance to help because she insists on doing everything by herself.

Rúbaí is particularly famous for her birthday cakes and when she gets a visit from the king himself looking for one of her special cakes for his birthday there is great excitement in the bakery. Rúbaí creates a real showstopper for the king’s birthday on her own of course as she refuses all help from the mice. After bedtime the mice can’t resist coming out of their hole for one last peek at the cake. But as they climb onto each other’s shoulders disaster strikes! They take a tumble and knock the king’s birthday cake onto the ground in smithereens! Rúbaí hasn’t got enough time to make a new cake by herself so she finally accepts some help from the mice. They all work together right through the night to make an even more impressive cake just in time for the king’s birthday.

This is a wonderful story about the benefits of cooperation and learning to work as part of a team. If you have decent Leaving Certificate Irish you will have no problem translating the story for little ones who are just learning. Meanwhile primary school children will enjoy the easy to read Irish (not to mention parents like me who want to expand their cúpla focail). The illustrations are so vibrant and full of detail. Little P spends ages poring over them. She loves hearing the story over and over again particularly when disaster strikes and the cake crashes to the ground! Cáca don Rí scores an eight out of ten on the P-OMETER.

Cáca don Rí written by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde and illustrated by Steve Simpson is published by Futa Fata. ISBN: 978-1-910945-29-2

Our Top 5 Books for Bedtime

What is the perfect recipe for a bedtime story? In my experience it’s loveable characters, a gentle story, not too much action and a reassuring and comforting conclusion. Here are five of our favourites that send Little P to sleep with happy thoughts every time.

Lily is a little bunny who is finding it difficult to sleep with all the noises in her farmyard home. Her mother manages to quiet all the distracting sounds while Lily gets some help from her animal friends. A lullaby from duck, a bedtime story from cow and some nice soft straw from the hens. Eventually Lily falls fast asleep and makes quite a bit of noise herself (snore snore!!).

Hushabye Lily is written by Claire Freedman, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello and published by Little Tiger Press. ISBN: 1-85430-811-4

Twinkling stars, a cosy underground home and gentle woodland creatures. Mole’s Star even leaves me feeling wonderfully relaxed at bedtime! Mole loves the stars so much that when he finds a shooting star he makes a wish to bring them all inside his dark underground home. But when Mole realises just how much the other woodland animals miss the stars in the night sky they all work together to get them back up there.

Mole’s Star written & illustrated by Britta Teckentrup is published by Orchard Books. ISBN: 978-1-40834-282-4



This is a perfect book for establishing (and maybe reinforcing!) a bedtime routine. Everything from bathing to the brushing of teeth is part of this comic and affectionate story. Little P‘s favourite part is the selection of ‘cuddlies’ to take to bed. But when the friends find a lonely little creature hiding under their bed with no cuddly of his own they’re all willing to share. This is a great book for children who love to bring their own special cuddly toy to bed.

Once Upon a Bedtime written & illustrated by David Melling is published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978-0-340-98970-8

We return to Winnie the Pooh at bedtime time and time again. Our favourite stories are: In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place, In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents and In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition [sic] to the North Pole. A.A. Milne’s writing is so fluent and easy to read. The characters are gentle and friendly and every story has such a heartwarming ending. The stories are just the right length for bedtime and sometimes a paperback, with only a few pictures like this one, works well at bedtime because Little P just sits back and listens to the story.

Winnie the Pooh written by A.A. Milne & illustrated by E. Shephard is published by Penguin Modern Classics. ISBN: 978-0-14-240467-6.

There’s nothing like a magical story before bedtime to make sure that little heads have sweet dreams! Two adventurous girls discover a bog baby on a fishing trip to the woods. He is such a cute little thing they decide to keep him as a pet. But when the bog baby starts to look sad their Mum teaches them one of life’s great lessons. Sometimes if you really love something you have to set it free. This is a wonderful story for nature lovers and the illustrations of the woods are almost dreamlike they are so beautiful.

The Bog Baby written by Jeanne Willis & illustrated by Gwen Millward is published by Puffin Books. ISBN: 978-0-141-50030-0.

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

While I was reading this to Little P the author’s voice and the tone of the book felt so familiar to me. I did some research and discovered why! Mo Willems used to be a writer and animator on Sesame Street. I adored Sesame Street as a child and this book is imbued with the same wonderful optimistic, cheerful, slightly zany and friendly spirit.

Nanatte has been given the awesome responsibility of going to buy the baguette. The warm, delicious baguette. She can’t resist the temptation (who could!) and soon the baguette is no more. Nannette is obviously very worried about returning home empty handed. When she does eventually muster up the courage her Mum’s reaction is one of those heart warming moments that will make every child smile. Reminiscent of when mother Owl returns home in Owl Babies! But what her Mum does at the end of the story will make every child howl with laughter!!

Little P loves Nanette. Like all children she’s a funny impulsive and excitable character. Using illustrations that are a combination of 2D drawings on 3 D backgrounds Willems creates a colourful French village that’s just as inviting as Sesame Street.

We have read this book many many times and each reading brings more laughter from Little P so it has to be an eight out of ten on the P-ometer.

Nanette’s Baguette is written and illustrated by Mo Willems and published by Walker Books. ISBN: 978-1-4063-7621-0