After a hectic day, there is nothing more relaxing than putting on cozy pajamas and getting in some extra cuddles while reading a book with your child. Whether you are looking for a yawn-inducing story or a good giggle before you say good-night, the below tales are sure to be a hit at bedtime!
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Best Bedtime Books for Little Dreamers was created by Rosemary D'Urso for the London Littles community. For more excellent book lists, visit Rosemary at librarymom.com and @librarymombooks.
Dinosaur, Princess, and Construction pajamas photographed by @briannnajade
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Ages 2 and up)
This alluring bedtime story is full of whimsy and wonder. When a young child refuses to go to bed, his mother playfully compares him to wild animals. The inventive illustrations display the child and the imaginary animals in an array of lively poses while the clever text introduces a variety of descriptive vocabulary.
Goodnight-Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Ages 2 and up)
Follow a group of rough and tough construction vehicles as they curl up to sleep at night. The bold, action-packed drawings combined with the gentle rhyming text make this a perfect book to share with a truck lover.
Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson (Ages 2 and up)
This serene interactive book invites readers to wave, tap, and whisper to observe several magical moments of nighttime. Soft hues fill the pages, creating a peaceful feeling while the short, engaging text draws the reader in. While this book may seem simple, many of nature’s mesmerizing elements are introduced such as fireflies, meteors, and constellations in a child-friendly way. Additional information on the nocturnal wonders featured is available in the back.
Don’t Blink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by David Roberts (Ages 2 and up)
A large-eyed owl promises the reader that they can stay up past their bedtime if they are able to refrain from blinking during the length of the book. Filled with a variety of clever tactics including optical illusions, children will be entranced by this comical interactive book.
Beep, Beep Go to Sleep by Todd Tarpley (Ages 2 and up)
In this charming story, a little boy tries to put three rambunctious robots to bed only to be met with silly hijinks. The robots are reminiscent of toddlers, which will cause children and adults to chuckle at this cute rhyming story that is perfect for bedtime.
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Ages 3 and up)
Kevin Henkes is a master storyteller and Kitten’s First Full Moon is one of his finest books. When a little white kitten confuses the moon for a bowl of milk, he tries to find a way to reach the sky with amusing results. Using only black and white illustrations, Henkes perfectly captures the kitten’s droll expressions on his quest for a delicious treat. This sweet story’s delightful pictures earned a Caldecott Medal marking it the most distinguished American picture book for children the year it was published.
Over in the Woodland: A Mythological Counting Journey by Nicole and Shar Abreu; illustrated by Susanna Covelli (Ages 3 and up)
Lush illustrations capture a myriad of mythological creatures in this stunning bedtime story. Set to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”, rolling rhymes follow a family of griffins who check on all of the magical inhabitants of their forest. Children will relish in searching for the griffin hidden on each page and the detailed backmatter providing a description of each creature.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin (Ages 3 and up)
You will never look at the moon the same way after reading this enchanting story by Grace Lin. A Big Mooncake for Little Star mixes in elements of fantasy and Chinese culture to create a charming story of Little Star who wakes each night to nibble away at the giant mooncake she and her mother baked together. With each bite, children will begin to see the various phases of the moon. This whimsical story is simply delightful and makes for a wonderful book for bedtime. Just in case you need one more reason to read this outstanding book, it also won a Caldecott Honor for its unique artwork.
Friday Night Wrestlefest by J.F. Fox; illustrated by Micah Player (Ages 4 and up)
Get your over-the-top-announcer voice ready because your kids are going to ask you to read this hilarious story again and again. It’s Friday night and after a pizza feast, a family prepares for their weekly tradition of battling to bedtime. With comical wrestling names, each family member has their unique moves that are cleverly captured by vibrant illustrations that are full of action. Bursting with family fun, this book is a real winner!Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Ages 4 and up)
When Ava can’t fall asleep, she turns to her tried and true method of counting sheep. Her sheep, however, are exhausted from jumping over Ava’s imaginary fence. The disgruntled ewes attempt to find another animal to replace them with hilarious results creating one rollicking good bedtime story.
Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue;illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (Ages 4 and up)
While being tucked in by her parents, a girl inquires if everything in the world needs to sleep and learns about the behaviors of different animals. Before the girl realizes it, she is curling up like a snail and finding warmth in her sheets like a cat and is soon fast asleep. The tranquil tone of the book is infectious, leaving readers ready to enter their own beds after gazing at the delicate illustrations filled with mesmerizing patterns.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Ages 4 and up)
It’s time for bed and Little Red excitedly awaits her Papa’s bedtime stories. As he reads classic fairytales, the exuberant Little Red can’t help but hilariously interrupt each one. This endearing Caldecott Honor book is a ton of fun to read aloud and listen to.
Stop That Yawn! by Caron Levis; illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Ages 4 and up)
“Abby Wild had had enough of bedtime.” So begins the entertaining story of a girl and her grandmother who travel to a magical place where no one sleeps. When her grandmother lets out an enormous yawn, however, it causes the townspeople to collapse in slumber. Abby partakes in a whimsical adventure trying to stop the yawn before it spreads throughout the entire city.
The rhythmic text and lively, detailed illustrations make this an enthralling read aloud. Many children will relate to the exuberant Abby and her desire to avoid bedtime. The countless mentions of yawning, however, will help relax readers and succumb to their own sleepiness.Just Because by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Ages 4 and up)
“Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs?” These are just a few of the questions a young girl asks her father as he attempts to leave her room during bedtime. The dad’s imaginative and amusing responses are perfectly paired with gorgeous, fantastical illustrations. This is such a sweet and fun book that will most likely be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals by Kate Hosford; illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter (Ages 4 and up)
Did you know that otters sometimes hold hands while snoozing in the water or that sperm whales sleep vertically? A Songbird Dreams of Singing is a tender bedtime book that mixes fascinating facts about animals with lovely lyrical poems about the sleeping habits of a variety of creatures. Beautifully crafted illustrations feature the slumbering mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects introducing both familiar and unfamiliar animals such as ocelots, lemurs, and upside-down jellyfish.
Recommended Titles from our Community
"The Good Egg and The Bad Seed." @miss_bockmania
"Kaia and the Bees is a fave at our house right now." @everydayreading
"We have a little one so our bedtime stories are a little shorter right now. Some of our favs are: Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!, Love You to the Moon and Back and Corduroy." @tonkey
"Goodnight Louisiana, Be Glad Your Dad (isn’t an octopus), Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas (must be read in an accent so the rhymes work), Fry Bread, and Jinx and the Doom are the favorites right now!" @menliann
"We are really loving Bedtime for Baby Sloth." @thepieperlife
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