I love reading my daughter a bedtime story or seven (well, by the time we’re on the seventh book I’m usually skipping pages and angling for the light switch). Most of her bedtime stories are filled with wonder, humour and adventure, but every now and again I find I’ve bought a dud.

Even worse than reading a complete bore, I once inadvertently freaked the living daylights out of my daughter reading Is That you Wolf?. OK, perhaps I built up too much suspense for when the wolf popped out. The publisher has since added “BEWARE! Not A Bedtime Story!” to the front cover.

Best of the worst bedtime stories

Not Now, Bernard

What could be scary about a little boy who gets ignored by his parents and then eaten by a monster? Not now, Bernard must’ve been frightening young children up and down the land for generations. “I bought Not Now, Bernard a while back, loved it as a kid! My daughter hated it and was terrified a monster would come and eat her and we wouldn’t notice.” Digitalmotherhood

‘Oh the places you will go’ (Dr. Seuss)

“I found parts of it were quite dark, unsettling and not really appropriate for young children.” OurFairytaleAdventure

The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business

“I made the mistake of reading The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business to my two at bedtime a few weeks ago and they just started talking about poo and got over excited and bedtime took forever! It’s a very odd book!” ScrapbookBlog

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep doesn’t seem to be making many fans…

“My goodness that’s a difficult book to read. I downloaded the Kindle version one day in the middle of a run of horrendous bedtimes, and my 4 year old was still wide awake by the end. All the reviews say “my 5 year old was spark out by page 4…” or “I barely started reading before my 3 year old was out like a light” and here am I with a full of beans four year old and I’m £3.99 down and I’ve lost my evening AGAIN but it’s worse this time because I’ve had to read that torturous book.” Babyfoote

Other parent’s agree: “It’s sh*te and the language is much too old for young children”. “Its work in reverse – I yawned all the way through it”.

The Tale Of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter Originals)

That’s right. Even Peter Rabbit doesn’t survive the wrath of parents up and down the land… “I read The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to my daughter when she was a toddler and she freaked out … “Don’t go into Mr McGregor’s garden: your father had an accident there and ended up in a pie”. PackThePJs

Little Baby Bum: The Wheels on the Bus: Sing Along!

I think this goes for any musical bedtime story. No… Just, no… “My husband let my 2 year old go to bed with a Wheels on the Bus musical book the other day after reading it with her. Cue 5 a.m. wake up call with the awful, electronic music button being pressed repeatedly until someone went in to stop her.” SophiesNursery

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Reading about a hunter being send to cut out someone’s heart then reading the words out loud to three year olds “bring me her heart in a box” is pretty damn awful!” Twinderelmo

In the Night Garden: The Mucky Patch

Does innuendo make you giggle like Iggle Piggle? Then flick through the pages of In the Night Garden: The Mucky Patch. “It’s so full of innuendo that it makes me and my hubby laugh. Not really a relaxing bedtime story…or maybe it’s just us.” Mummyest2014. One dad’s post made this children’s book go viral (DailyMail).

Always and Forever

There are those books that’ll make everyone in the family break down and cry. Best avoid this one if you want a good night’s sleep. “Not the worst but it’s very sad as it’s about death so a bit too morbid for bed time.” MummaAndHerMonsters


The hugely popular series, Goosebumps, proves a little unpopular with the little ones when it comes to bedtime. “According to my nine year old Goosebumps is the worst series for bedtime because it’s too scary.MummyTimesTwo

Too scary, morbid, musical or just plain dull – it’s probably wise to keep all these books off the bedtime story shelf.

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