Welcome back to the Wednesday "Bedtime Story" feature, everyone! If this is your first visit, let me explain:
Every Wednesday at 6pm GMT, I'll be posting a brand new "bedtime story" for children aged 4-7 years old. I've written each one with the intention of them being read aloud at bedtime, hence the name of the feature. I've had some lovely feedback from last week's story, Sidney The Shell Bird, which I want to express a big thank you for - it makes my day when my stories are enjoyed. So I'm very pleased and proud to present this week's tale, for you to share aloud with your little ones. If you like these stories, please do share them around and if they continue to prove popular, I might start posting them twice a week, rather than weekly. Enjoy - and don't forget to check back next week for more!
This week's bedtime story really is a bedtime story, in as much as it's inspired by bedtime itself... :-)
If You Don't Go To Bed...
By Emma Tofi
Tilly Tucker hated bedtime. She was never really tired. She'd sneak out from under her covers and play with her toys for as long as she could, before her mum came and carried her back to bed.
Tommy Tucker loved bedtime. He loved to snuggle down, cosy and warm, ready to drift off into sweet dreams until morning. But Tommy's bedroom was next door to Tilly's and drifting off to sleep was never easy with her around...
One night, after Tommy had drunk the last slurp of his warm milk and wrapped his thick, comfy duvet around himself, the door to his bedroom creaked open.
"Tommy!" Tilly called. "Let's play dress-up!" She raced to his wardrobe and flung open the doors, pulling out shirts and shoes and scattering them across the floor.
"Tilly..." Tommy groaned. "If you don't go to bed, I'll tell mum."
Tilly folded her arms. "Boring." She bounced onto his bed. "Let's jump up to the moon!" Tilly began jumping up and down, stretching her arms up to the ceiling.
"Tilly!" Tommy snapped. "If you don't go to bed, I'll tell dad."
Tilly shook her head. "Boring," she said, again. She reached behind her brother's head. "Shall we have a pillow fight?!"
Tommy rolled his eyes. "No! Tilly, if you don't go to bed, I'll..."
Tilly cocked her head to one side. "You'll do what?"
Tommy took a deep breath. "If you don't go to bed, I'll stick a jelly on your head."
There was a pause, then a giant giggle, as Tilly shuffled forwards on the bed. "A jelly on my head?!"
Tommy nodded. "Yes. If you don't go to bed, I'll stick a jelly on your head. And I'll power-wash your toes with daddy's brand new garden hose."
Tilly shrieked with delight. "What else?!"
Tommy grinned. "Well....
If you don't go to bed,
I'll stick a jelly on your head.
And I'll power-wash your toes
With daddy's brand new garden hose.
I'll make you bake me twenty pies
If you will not close your eyes
And it'll be an even bigger number
If you don't hurry into slumber!"
Tilly clapped her hands with glee. "What if I'm not sleepy?!"
Tommy shifted on his bed, letting his sister slide underneath the duvet beside him.
"If you're not feeling sleepy,
I'll tell you stories that are creepy
Until you're so scared by such high-jinx
That you need your forty winks!
I'll find a secret map
That leads to somewhere you can nap
Beside a buried treasure chest
Filled with things to help you rest.
I'll fill your bath with cream
If you don't settle down to dream.
And I'll put mustard in your shoes
If you don't lie down for a snooze!
If you don't go to bed,
I'll make you mow the lawn instead.
Then you'll wash the clothes you've worn
Until at last you start to yawn.
If you don't admit you're tired,
I'll think of something else inspired,
Like making you eat sprouts
Until you're definitely worn out.
I'll dye your blonde hair blue
Unless you say you're tired, too.
I'll make you ride an armadillo
If your head won't hit the pillow.
I'll tie you to my kite
If you don't smile and say goodnight!
And you'll sail into the skies,
So be quick and close your eyes!
I'll stick jam on your nose
Unless you go to bed and doze!
I'll paint your face just like a clown
Unless you come and settle down.
I think it's rather odd
That you avoid the Land of Nod!
So, let's not hear another peep,
Because it's time for you to sleep."
Tommy grinned to himself, then turned to his sister. "Ha, Tilly, I've thought of more..." He started.
But Tilly was fast asleep, with a smile still on her face.