The Bedtime Picture Book I've Been Trying To Write for Years by David Bedford

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The Bedtime Picture Book I've Been Trying To Write for Years by David Bedford

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Summary: We loved Bouncy Bouncy Bedtime and it was fascinating to hear that there was a bit of a story behind the book.
Date: 27 June 2011

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We loved Bouncy Bouncy Bedtime and it was fascinating to hear that there was a bit of a story behind the book.

The Bedtime Picture Book I've Been Trying To Write for Years

Bouncy Bouncy Bedtime is the bedtime picture book I've been trying to write for years. My first attempt was the bedtime story I wrote as a follow up to my best-selling Big Bear Little Bear. In the follow up story, I had my two polar bears filled with the exuberance of a wonderful day of arctic sunshine, snow to slide on and toss about - the first pages were an exultation of life itself. Then the little polar bear yawned. From that moment the story began to slow. The two bears, mother and child, walked home to bed, getting sleepier and sleepier as they watched other animals bedding down for the night. And at the end - two furry bears are curled up together asleep in their cosy den.

So, excitement and engaging fun, followed by a slow winding down to sleep - the perfect bedtime story.

My publisher didn't think so. Instead, they suggested to me that the second part of the book was the 'bedtime story', the first part was something else, part of another book perhaps. I was persuaded, and the resulting book, Bedtime for Little Bears!, is indeed a lovely bedtime read - a last book before sleep. Perfect for the child who has had a warm, relaxing bath, and now, warm as toast in a fresh pair of pyjamas, lies sunken in the fluffiest of pillows, tucked under a cloud-soft duvet, with their favourite bedtime companion clamped under their chin. With eyes wide and sleepy, it's time for the lullaby of a favourite bedtime story.

Bedtime for Little Bears! does its job very well and I'm happy with that. All well and good. Except for those nights when children reach bedtime still filled to bust with their second or third or fourth wind, fired up by their day, undaunted by suppertime, taking the stairs like elephants, splashing bathwater up the walls, hopping from foot to foot while an attendent parent tries brushing their teeth ... surely I can't be the only one reaching mentally for a book that would demand their full attention, and THEN lull them to sleep?!

To their great credit, my publishers Egmont thought they'd give this idea a go. They accepted my unusually imaginative text, and what's more, gave it to Russell Julian to illustrate.

Russell and I had just had a big success with our first book together, It's a George Thing, so there was some expectation as to what we'd do next.

So far the reviews of Bouncy, Bouncy Bedtime have been fantastic. Last month I read the book for the first time to a group of fifty nursery children in a library in Birmingham. They'd just walked through the rain, and we could all still hear the downpour outside. Fortunately, the book's opening pages drew their complete attention ... and then the ongoing story calmed them down with a sleepy lullaby, the ending accompanied by gigantic, jaw-breaking yawns.

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