Best Bedtime Books for Baby and Toddlers

Snuggle up! These charming stories will capture your child’s imagination and set the mood for a dreamy night’s sleep.
save article
profile picture of The Bump Editors
Updated October 2, 2017
mom getting baby ready for bed
16 slides

What makes a classic bedtime book? As any parent hoping to lull a baby or toddler to sleep knows, it’s nothing short of a magical formula: lyrical words that are sometimes also surprisingly sublime, relatable characters adorably illustrated, plus sweet sentiments that make your child feel safe and calm. Here, bedtime stories brimming with all these qualities. Just one look at tuck-in time, and your child (and you!) will want to read them again and again.


Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

This story is perfect for those nights when it’s daddy’s turn to tuck baby in. They’ll love sharing this Guess How Much I Love You? story together and you’ll love sneaking a peek from the doorway (but we won’t tell!).
Buy it: from $7  


Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle

This celestial tale and kiddie astronomy lesson is as fun to read as it is to look at. Wee ones will ooh and aah as you unfold the oversized pages into a very loooong ladder and then a great big moon. For parent and child, it’s a joy to witness the little girl’s joy upon finally receiving that moon, and a comfort to see the moon’s phases come, go, and come back again. And the father’s readiness to trek to the ends of the earth for his child—isn’t that what parenting is all about?
Buy it: $8,


Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Your little one will happily identify with the baby animals in this calming book that introduces them to animals on the farm, from the cute teensy pig just learning to squeal to the “golden flying horse” on the weather vane. But like human babies in their own home, everyone needs to go to bed at some point. As is the case with the author’s classic Goodnight Moon, this lyrical book works like a lullabye.
Buy it: $7,


Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton

Forget the bedtime nagging. Just break out this book. Its silly sing-song words and even sillier pictures get kids ready for bed—and sneak in some learning too. Whether their sleep clothes are striped like the tooth-brushing moose’s or fuzzy like the elephant’s, kiddies will want to “pull on the bottoms, put on the top” and join in on the “pajama-dee-bop.” Don’t worry: the wackiness closes with a satisfying “Shhhhhhhh. Good night. Sleep tight.”
Buy it: $6,


Time for Bed by Mem Fox

All of the baby snakes, fish, bees, sheep and more are being tucked into bed by their mamas — and your baby will love falling asleep like one of the animals!
Buy it: $12,


Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Even rough-and-tumble construction vehicles need to rest, including a snoring dump truck and yawning excavator (raise your hand, Moms who didn’t know for sure what an excavator was until you had a son). As the cutest crane you’ve ever seen hugs his teddy and dozes off, there’s a small chance your own tough tyke will be inspired to do the same.
Buy it: $13,


Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

Before baby closes her eyes, Counting Kisses reminds mom (or dad!) of all the extra special kisses, hugs, cuddles and tickles she’ll need. When she’s old enough, make your toddler (or preschooler!) read it to you, instead.
Buy it: $6,


Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

After just a few times through on your own, baby (when he’s old enough) and even toddlers will pick up on this rhyming read-aloud! It’s a sweet reminder that nothing bad can happen to baby at bedtime as long as mama is around.
Buy it: $17,


In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

One person’s weird is another’s whimsical, but we’re siding with the latter. Little Mickey is swept up in a surreal dream and he’s taking you and baby along with him. From his bread-dough plane to his bare-bummed dive into the milk bottle, to the silly verses throughout (“Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake and nothing’s the matter!”), this classic with have you both in a wondrous trance.
Buy it: $12,


Sweet Dreams, Sam by Yves Got

Who said learning stops at bedtime? Cute baby Sam needs to pick a favorite cuddly teddy to snuggle in bed with — and baby will love helping him choose with this tactile touch-and-feel book!
Buy it: $7,  


Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Baby is going to love following Joe the Zookeeper from page to page as he says goodnight to all the animals — and when baby discovers that a little gorilla has followed Joe home to bed, he won’t want to go to sleep without tucking in all of his animals!
Buy it: $8 Barnes&


Little Quack’s Bedtime by Lauren Thompson

This sweet lullaby will teach baby just how important quiet is at bedtime — and he’ll be thankful he’s not surrounded by all the blinking, hooting and swaying animals in the forest that are keeping Quack and his friends up!
Buy it: $8,


Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long

Sure, you have the lullaby memorized by heart, but having a copy of the book to read along with baby as you put her to bed makes the lyrics really come to life. And just like your mom passed this book on to you, you’ll do the same for your little one.
Buy it: $7,


Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli

Munchkins will delight in seeing the culprit behind the squeak that keeps owl from falling asleep—long before owl does. In this sweet relatively new bedtime soother, the “funny noise he never heard before” leads owl, still clad in his pink jammies, to search far and wide around the house. But when he finds the source—a mischievous mouse with twig-like arms—there are no hard feelings and they snuggle up and finally fall asleep.
Buy it: $14,


I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

It’s not your traditional bedtime story, but if you’re looking to get a little silly before it’s time to turn out the lights, then this one’s for you! In I Love You, Stinky Face, baby will learn that no matter how stinky (or sweet-smelling!) he is, his mama will love him.
Buy it: $7,


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Just a warning, mom: You and baby will love sharing this classic together so much that pretty soon you’ll start saying goodnight to everything you both can think of before bedtime.
Buy it: $6,

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Plus, More from The Bump:

Classic Books Baby Will Love

Establish a Bedtime Routine for Baby

Tricky Ways to Help Baby Sleep

Updated October 2017

save article

Next on Your Reading List

exhausted mother with baby
How to Survive Sleep Deprivation as a New Parent
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
baby crying in crib
Is the Ferber Method of Sleep Training Right for Your Family?
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
mother comforting baby at night in nursery room
When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
smiling mother getting her baby ready for bed
How (and When) to Establish a Baby Bedtime Routine
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
close up of baby smiling showing teeth
Everything You Need to Know About Baby Grinding Their Teeth
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
mother kissing toddler goodnight
What to Know About Night Terrors in Toddlers
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
dad holding yawning baby
How to Recognize the Signs of an Overtired Baby
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
mom comforting crying baby at night
How to Deal With Baby’s Witching Hour
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
When to Stop Swaddling Baby
When to Stop Swaddling Baby
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
happy baby getting a bath
Study: Here’s When You Should Have Bathtime if You Want to Kickstart a Good Night’s Sleep
By Stephanie Grassullo
4 month old baby sleeping
Everything to Know About the 4 Month Sleep Regression
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
mom holding sleeping baby
What You Need to Know About Setting a Baby Schedule
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
1 year old baby sleeping on stomach
When Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomach Safely?
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
mother holding sleeping baby in arms
What to Do if Baby Only Sleeps When Held
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
tired baby
How to Put Baby Down ‘Drowsy but Awake'
By Katherine Martinelli
snoo gets FDA approval
The Cult-Favorite SNOO Smart Sleeper Receives FDA Approval
By Wyndi Kappes
close up of mother holding baby at the end of the day
How to Help Baby Adjust to Daylight Savings Time
By Elena Donovan Mauer
father and baby asleep in bed during the day
Parents Lose This Many Nights of Sleep During Baby’s First Year
By Wyndi Kappes
father comforting baby at home
Here's the Best Way to Soothe a Crying Baby, According to Scientists
By Wyndi Kappes
newborn baby yawning
New Study Shares Tips for Helping Baby Sleep Through the Night
By Wyndi Kappes
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List