Today it's time for our favorite bedtime books. Can you believe I've been making book lists for year without yet sharing a list of bedtime stories? Last week, when I shared our favorite picture books of 2015 (so far), I mentioned that I had not been making as many picture book lists because you all seemed to enjoy chapter book lists a bit more. I was delighted to hear from so many of you via comments and email that you look forward to the picture book lists, too!
These picture books have been some of our favorite bedtime books over the years. A few titles we have discovered quite recently and some are long time favorites in our home. So whether you exclusively read picture books with your kids or have also added in some novels to your bedtime reading, I hope you can find a few new favorites to read with your kids. There are soooo many good bedtime books. Way too many to include them all here. So, please! Tell me what you think is the best bedtime book. (Note: covers and titles are affiliate links.)
MORE: See all our book lists indexed here.
Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. A melodramatic owl is on the prowl. He is hungry, but being a wise owl he is a master of disguise and knows just how to catch his prey. To catch a bunny, he disguises himself as a carrot. For a pigeon, he becomes an ornamental bird bath. He doesn't seem to have much luck, but no matter! He is undeterred and when he finally gets his dinner (I won't give it away!) the world can sleep again. I absolutely adore the wry, ridiculous humor of this book. I could hardly contain my laughter, which of course made my sons love it even more because apparently when mama laughs, life is hilarious.
I Dare You Not to Yawn. Everyone knows the infectious power of a yawn. Just try not to yawn when someone mentions it! (I bet you are yawning right now!) Fortunately, the narrator has all sorts of tricks to keep from yawning, thus avoiding bedtime. This is a fun bedtime book and my sons and I like to see who can hold out from yawning the longest before the book is done. So far they have won every time.
No Go Sleep! is great fun, but I can't be help responsible if your child echos "No Go Sleep!" when you have finished reading. Every child can relate to and every parent will recognize the protagonist of this book who announces at each turn that he is not interested in going to sleep. Until, that is, he just does.
The Maggie B. Like me, my mom primarily checked out books from the library, but this was one of the few precious picture books she bought. I imagine it was because the girl and her brother reminded her of me and my brother. I loved this book, with its gorgeous watercolors and the story of an imaginary, self-sufficient day on a boat out at sea. It’s one of my favorite quiet classics, and a perfect bedtime book.
Ten, Nine, Eight Board Book. This is one of my absolute favorite board books. I loved reading it to both my boys at night time and I can still recite it from memory. I even included it in my list of toddler books I’ll miss reading. A young girl counts items in her room as she gets ready for bed. “10 small toes all soft and warm. 9 soft friends in a quiet room,” all the way down to “1 big girl all ready for bed.” It’s a nice touch that it is daddy who puts the child to bed, too. This is a book everyone should own. You can also find this book in Spanish.
Hush! A Thai Lullaby. I love this book! After a mom puts her baby to sleep in a hammock she has to hush to sounds around her. Author Minfong Ho writes each animal’s onomatopoetic sound and I like that they are unusual. For example, the lizard says “tuk-ghaa”, the pig says, “uut-uut.” The gentle, rhythmic text creates such a lovely lullaby.
The Going-To-Bed Book is another book worth owning because you will read it again and again and again. It is nearly impossible to get bored of Sandra Boynton's swinging, rhythmic text and the part in which the animals exercise after they have already gotten ready for bed is a pretty accurate depiction of what happens in our house!
MORE: See all our picture book lists here.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? I will never get rid of my copy of this book. Partly because every page is covered in tape from being so well handled and loved by my son. I read this book every night for about two years! It has an honored spot on our shelf.
Itsy Mitsy Runs Away. Itsy Mitsy hates bedtime so much she decides to run away to where there is never any bedtime. Only... She doesn't want to leave all her favorite belongings behind, including her house. Clever illustrations add to the fun. My youngest loves to joke about running away so this book was right up his alley.
Duck in the Fridge offers plenty of opportunities to do silly voices, yuck it up at so-bad-they-are-good puns, nod knowingly at the dramatic irony and laugh at the ending twist. It all starts out when a boy asks his father why he always reads Mother Goose at bedtime and dad explains it all had to do with finding a duck in the fridge...
The Dark. When I heard there was a collaboration between Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen being released I thought, “If that book is not good, I will just give up.” Fortunately it is great! Laszlo is afraid of the dark. It usually lives in the basement, although it also lurks in closets and behind the shower curtain. Every morning Laszlo says hello to the dark, hoping that the dark would stop visiting his bedroom at night. One night the dark speaks to Laszlo and leads him to the cure for his fear. Much has been said about this book and its meticulous writing, and I can not hope to compete with the prose of real critics. In the end, all that you need to know is that it’s a book my then-4 year old, who is afraid of the dark, requested again and again. It didn’t miraculously cure him of his fears, but it’s a good book, nevertheless.
What's your child's favorite bedtime book?
MORE BOOKS LISTS TO INSPIRE:
- Multicultural books for babies and toddlers
- Baseball picture books for kids
- Read me a bedtime story (Growing Book by Book)
- Books about bedtime (No Time For Flash Cards)
See our favorite books of 2014, too!