The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

Any kid who counts snuggling with a book as part of his/her nightly bedtime ritual, should definitely consider him/herself lucky, since there are millions of children out there who unfortunately do not get to enjoy this often taken-for-granted privilege for various reasons. That said, it’s safe to say that the majority of children who do get the opportunity to read, or be read, this wonderful story belong to the fortunate former category.

What makes The Snatchabook particularly successful is not just the fact that the story is highly original and entirely written in rhyming prose that reads beautifully, but that it is structured to be a meta bedtime story about a threat (albeit a not-so-serious one) to bedtime stories. It helps also, of course, that children will have a hard time tearing their eyes away from the seriously staggeringly beautiful illustrations that bring this heartwarming story to life.

The book centres around the titular Snatchabook, a sad creature who doesn’t have anyone to read to him and thus resorts to stealing other animals’ storybooks and disrupting their bedtime reading β€” a predicament that readers will empathise with, especially since they are in the midst of reading a bedtime story themselves. Thus, the reader is doubly invested as the story seems to unfold in a parallel universe where baby animals, like children, enjoy bedtime stories.

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Alas, when things get out of hand, Eliza Brown, a brave and resourceful little bunny, devises a plan to trap the book thief. Upon confronting the Snatchabook, however, she discovers that he is genuinely remorseful and decides to give him a chance to make amends. She even manages to think of a good way for him to have access to stories without stealing another book ever again.

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It’s special books like this that make cuddling up to a bedtime story an extra-magical experience that is cherished by both parents and their children alike.

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