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Time for a little après-spank? This isn't just a collection of books that we happen to like. It's stuff we've bought for each other and/or read to each other, and which we particularly enjoy and recommend for those snuggly, sore-bottomed bedtimes when there really has to be a bedtime story. We're quite hatefully cute, aren't we?

What does bedtime reading have to do with spanking? Well, for us, there's no better way to round off a day than with Mija over Pab's lap for a bedtime spanking, and then the two of us snuggling up in bed for a story. It's the ice-cream at the end of the meal. And it's quiet, peaceful time when we can just enjoy each other's presence and have some innocent, escapist fun. Remember what bedtime stories were like as a kid? Well, that's how we still think of them. (We've given each of the books here a 'bedtime rating'. The book titles link to the books at or, should you want more information.)

Pablo: I love to read Mija bedtime stories. Frankly, I'm a terrible ham, and I love to do all the character voices and really indulge myself. I'll never have a more appreciative audience, too.

Mija: Being read to is very very nice and comforting, especially after a long day, and/or a really hard spanking. And Pablo does do the voices really well, though sometimes it's hard to get in just the right position to see the pictures and fall sorta asleep. (Sorta asleep is when you start kinda dreaming but would totally notice if the person stopped reading.)

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling

(Bloomsbury, ISBN 0747532699)

P: I spent some wonderful bedtimes reading this to Mija in the summer of '99. There's nothing terribly original here, but Rowling puts the pieces together to make a rattling good tale. The chapters are a good length for a nice long bedtime snuggle, but expect some whining for more - she's great at building to cliff-hanger endings. (We think you should go for the British version, and not the US version, which was unaccountably renamed as 'Sorcerer's Stone'. We don't know why, but doubt it was for a good reason.)

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZz

M: Okay, first off this is a great book and I loved it. Second (looking up) I don't think it deserves nearly that many ZZZs. It's great, but there's nothing restful about it and it nearly got me spanked and a threat of an early bedtime because I didn't want story time to be over because I needed to know what happened next. In fact, that really shouldn't have counted as whining at all, right?

Mija's bedtime rating: Zz (but I'd give it a bunch of stars)


Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Robert C. O'Brien

(Puffin, ISBN 0140366148)

P: This was a great discovery for me. Mija bought the book for me to read to her, and I liked it a lot (never having seen the Don Bluth animation). It has an unusual, rather odd structure, and is full of surprises. It's not always a comforting bedtime read, but it's never less than engaging and intriguing.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZ

M: This is a book that I read when I was in third grade and I really really wanted Pablo to read to me. Mostly because he does animal voices really good, but also because I remembered loving it so. But like Harry Potter it tends to have cliff-hanger chapter endings. Those made me pout a little.

Mija's bedtime rating: Zz


The Lorax
Dr. Seuss

(Random House, ISBN 0394823370)

P: Frankly, a masterpiece, and a book I'm sure we'll come back to again and again. Needing to see the pictures means that snuggling close is pretty much de rigueur, and the familiarity can only help to make this more of a favourite. For those nights you want to spend wrapped up with an old friend.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ

M: This is my all time total and absolute favorite Dr. Seuss book! I love the story and the message and the pictures and just everything about it. I gave a nice big copy of it to Pablo the first Christmas we spent together and he loved it too. The pictures are really big so I can see them without my glasses being on. It's so so so kewl to have it read to me. :)

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZz


Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
A.A. Milne

(Heinemann, ISBN 0749707100 & 0749707119)

P: Pooh, of course, practically defines the bedtime story genre, so it's no surprise that we love Milne, and we think Dorothy Parker was a grouch. Forget Disney, though. This is entirely Milne and Shepard's creation. So pull out those flannel PJs, gather up your bear, and let yourself wallow in some innocence for a while.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ (and a half)

M: These were the very first stories that Pablo read to me - after a really terrible and hard week where I'd gotten punished for a whole bunch of stuff and spanked every night really hard. We've read them curled up together and over the phone. There's just something so sweet and innocent and, well, good dreamish about them. The only bad thing is I never get to hear the endings because I always close my eyes to listen better and fall asleep. But Pablo says he always finishes the chapters anyway. I wouldn't believe him except Bryson backs him up. Bryson always stays up to hear the end.

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ


The Adventures of Paddington
Michael Bond

(HarperCollins, ISBN 0001821504)

P: Paddington was a favourite of mine as a kid, but I hadn't read the stories since then until I bought this edition (which is a collection of the first two books, A Bear Called Paddington, and More About Paddington) for some bedtime reading with Mija. The stories are funny. There's something almost Clouseau-like in Paddington's innocent chaos, and more than once I found myself giggling like a kid again.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ

M: Pablo read this book to me during my first (but hopefully not last!) summer in Britain. I loved it right away. First of all, he made sure that Paddington didn't sound at all like Pooh, because while Paddington has a growly voice, he's obviously younger and smaller than Pooh. These are very excellent bedtime stories. I really identified with Paddington because he's always trying to do good things, but gets in terrible trouble. Though the Browns must be nicer than Pablo 'cause he never gets spanked even when the police end up involved. Lucky bear! Oh, and my friend Bryson enjoyed the stories too. He thinks there are not enough stories about bears.

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ


The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein

(HarperCollins, ISBN 0060256656)

P: I can't decide whether this is way too sentimental, or pleasingly unsentimental, which I have a feeling is a very good sign. Mija bought this edition for me. It's probably too short to be ideal bedtime reading, and is too bittersweet for a truly comforting snuggle, but it's still a timeless fable with powerful resonance.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZ

M: For me this story is about unconditional love and how sometimes people (and trees!) give to someone who doesn't really deserve it because it makes them happy to do it. I gave this book to Pablo because sometimes I feel sorta guilty that he gives to me all the time and I feel like I don't give very much for him. But then I remember that he's happy and I'm happy and maybe I should try not to feel guilty so much of the time.

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZ


The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(Mammoth, ISBN 0749707232)

P: I didn't know The Little Prince at all until Mija introduced me to it. Having read it to her, I'm amazed I could have missed it; it's a true classic. It shares Carroll's willfully elliptical playfulness, though probably invites more allegory-chasing than is good for itself. More than anything, though, it's full of fabulous ideas, and is food for the starriest dreams.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZz

M: This is a true favorite - one of the reasons I knew that Tasha was really kewl when I first started to read her posts was that she put lines from The Little Prince into her sig line. Having Pablo read this to me, even though I'd read it many many times to myself, was very very special. It was like really hearing the words for the first time. It's also very good bedtime story stuff.

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll

(Puffin, ISBN 0140383514)

P: Again, try to forget Disney ever happened, and stick with Carroll and Tenniel. Alice is a little like Hamlet, in that reading it reminds you how much it has infiltrated popular culture. This is another one I know we'll come back to again and again, when suitable bedtime reading means a warm, safe bed, and a ride to a dangerous, faraway place.

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ

M: I'd read Alice at school like as homework and stuff and liked it, but I'd never really thought about it as a story until Pablo started to read it to me. It's got some dark parts where I feel scared for her but the fancy in it - especially when the flowers talk - is very fun. We haven't finished it yet. Hope we do some more of it soon.

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZz


Bridge of Birds
Barry Hughart

(Ballantine, ISBN 0552126462)

P: I love this book to bits. The only reason I'd not read it to Mija earlier was that I wasn't sure it would work as bedtime reading. It's a complex and whimsical tale. But it worked fabulously well, and I had a great time reading it again. It's rather hard to describe - imagine something between Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, set in a fictional ancient China. It's that weird and wonderful. Despite being a near-masterpiece, it's hard to get hold of, though seems to have copies. There are two great sequels also, but they seem to be out of print, which - given the amount of crap that does get published - is a scandal. Basically, you should run out and get a copy however you can. Hughart deserves to be rediscovered. (Also, try this web-site about Hughart's books.)

Pablo's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ

M: I'd never even heard of this book, let alone seen it, so when Pablo suggested it - and very strongly too! - I was a bit reluctant. I loved it though. It made great bedtime reading, with lots of exciting chapters. Sometimes I even got more than one a night. The author creates a wonderful and magical world and Pablo did lovely voices for all the characters. It reminded me in some ways of the Harry Potter books. Well worth a read!

Mija's bedtime rating: ZzZzZ

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