Top 5: Bedtime Books for Toddlers

At bedtime the little ones are always restless and one way to calm everyone down is a real bedtime book… a book about bedtime, and sleep, and yawning, and… oh, pardon me, I nodded off there for a moment.

Here are five rather excellent and beautiful bedtime stories that you may not know about. (Note: No Goodnight Moon on this list – everyone knows about that one already!) Click on titles for full reviews.


1. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes – infant+

Simple and funny. Kitten thinks the moon is a bowl of milk.

2. Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell – age 2+

All about getting settled for sleep, starring a very patient parent.

3. The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed by Helen Cooper – age 2+

Baby wants to keep playing but his toys are sleepy.

4. One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth – age 3+

Very funny. All the animals in the park are looking for a warm place to sleep, so they descend on the park-keeper’s little house.

5. The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson – age 3+

Dreamy and gorgeous. A girl imagines she is flying over the countryside at night, all the way to the planets and stars.

And, what the heck, here’s a bonus, one I haven’t reviewed on this blog but that we’ve read and listened to countless times:

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss – age 2+

A chronicle of all manner of creatures going to bed – yawners, sleepwalkers, sleeptalkers, snorers and dreamers. It’s a little long, but brilliant in its pacing, gradually slowing and mellowing until the final “Good night.” We have a fantastic CD version of it which we’d listen to while following along in the book. The narration, music and fx are terrific and the sound of all those yawns will definitely get you and your toddler yawning too. (Here’s the link to the CD on amazon.)

Goodnight!

The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1996

The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed

(aka The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed)

by Helen Cooper

London: Doubleday, 1996

30 pp.

Age: 2+

Interests: bedtime stories, night

Also by this author: Pumpkin Soup, The Bear Under the Stairs

More

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1988

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?

Martin Waddell, text

Barbara Firth, illustrations

Candlewick Press, 1988

30 pp.

Age: 2+

Interests: bears, night, bedtime, dark, fears, single parent

More

The House in the Night

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 2009

The House in the Night

Susan Marie Swanson, text

Beth Krommes, illustrations

Houghton Mifflin, 2008

36 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: night, bedtime, night sky, sun and moon

Other books by this illustrator: The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish; Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow, The Hidden Folk

More

The Polar Express

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 1986

The Polar Express

by Chris van Allsburg

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985

30 pp.

Age: 3 +

Interests: Christmas, winter, trains, snow

Also by this author: Jumanji

More

One Snowy Night

One Snowy Night

by Nick Butterworth

London: Collins, 1989

24 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: animals, winter, bedtime

More

Tuesday

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 1992

Tuesday

David Wiesner, author and illustrator

New York: Clarion, 1991

30 pp

ages 3 +

Interests: magic, frogs, night

By the same author: Flotsam, The Three Pigs, Sector 7

More

Kitten’s First Full Moon

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 2005

Kitten’s First Full Moon

Kevin Henkes, author and illustrator

New York: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, 2004

29 pp

infant +

interests: animals, cats, moon

More

Prayer for a Child

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 1945

Prayer for a Child

Rachel Field, author
Elizabeth Orton Jones, illustrator

New York: Macmillan, 1944
26 pp

Age: infant +

Interests: prayer, God, bedtime, night

More

Many Moons

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 1944

Many Moons

James Thurber, author

Louis Slobodkin, ill.

New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1943

45 pp

age 3+

Interests: fairy tales, princess, castles, moon

More

All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.