Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Monster, Little Unicorn, and Little Mermaid

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Rhiannon Fielding (text), Chris Chatterton (illustrator), Little Unicorn: Ten Minutes to Bed, Ladybird Books, September 2018, 32 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780241348925

Rhiannon Fielding (text), Chris Chatterton (illustrator), Little Monster: Ten Minutes to Bed, Ladybird Books, December 2018, 32 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780241348918

Rhiannon Fielding (text), Chris Chatterton (illustrator), Little Mermaid: Ten Minutes to Bed, Ladybird Books, August 2019, 32 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780241372678

Teachers and parents are well familiar with the ten-minute bedtime countdown. Countdowns are often used to great effect in early childhood classrooms and homes to introduce a sense of time to children and help prepare them for activities such as packing toys away, getting ready to go outside to play and naptime.

Rhiannon Fielding has cleverly created a trio of charming characters as part of the Ten Minutes to Bed series that are immediately familiar to young children. The rhythmic rhyme and each individual character’s adventures makes for an engaging read. Combined with Chris Chatterton’s night-time-esque illustrations makes for a pleasurable and calming read.

In Ten Minutes to Bed Little Mermaid, Splash lives in an underground kingdom filled with other ‘merchildren’. As bedtime approaches Splash does not feel tired and decides to go on an adventure just as her grandpa starts the bedtime countdown. Diving deep Splash swims with rainbow fish, clacking crabs and a turtle family only to encounter a shadowy shark on the ocean floor. Will Splash escape his snapping teeth and make it home in time for bed?

An equally lovable character is Belch in Ten Minutes to Bed Little Monster. Bedtime is not going to stop Belch from eating jelly and playing with her toys. In fact, all her playful noise wakes up the neighbourhood monsters who join in for some monster fun! Will they ever tire out and make it to bed in time to be creepy? Surely monsters need sleep too!

Twinkle is our mischievous adventurer in Ten Minutes to Bed Little Unicorn. Unable to resist the call of marshmallow clouds and pink sugar sand, Twinkle heads out for some fun just as her dad starts her bedtime countdown. From chasing pixies to meeting trolls and dragons, Twinkle realises she is far from home. Will she be able to wish hard enough to find her way back?

Craft activities abound from cut-outs to colouring monsters, mermaids and unicorns as part of special edition activity pack. A highlight of the pack is a ‘spot 10 things’ activity which is sure to keep kindergartners busy!

A day map of The Land of Nod at the beginning of each picture book in the series is a wonderful inclusion and can help develop spatial skills by locating all the magical places before the story even begins. Even lovelier is the night map of The Land of Nod with its dark moody colours to signal night-time and the end of each story.

Ten Minutes to Bed is a thoughtful series, at just the right length, that can take teachers, parents and children on a unique fun-filled adventure before sleep.

Reviewed by Shelley Stephens

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