10 Must-Have Bedtime Books for Babies and Toddlers (Just In Time For the Holidays!)

The holidays always seem to be right around the corner! And those of us who celebrate by buying gifts for our little loved ones are probably all thinking the same thing right about now…


If you’ve barely made a dent in your shopping list, no need to panic — today, we’re suggesting some fantastic bedtime books for your babies and toddlers. Some are tried-and-true bedtime classics; others are new books that are on their way to becoming beloved favorites. And they’d all make great gifts, parents!

And those of you organized types who finished your shopping weeks ago will want to check this out, too. It’s never too late to add a gift or two to your Christmas list, right? 😉

The Baby Sleep Site’s® Top 10 Baby and Toddler Bedtime Books

Bear Snores On

Bear Snores On Karma Wilson’s Bear books have always been favorites in my house, and Bear Snores On ranks right at the top. Bear can sleep through anything — even all the commotion his animal friends cause as they crowd into his cave to escape a storm! My kids’ love the warm, cozy feel of this book, as well as its lilting rhymes.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Dinosaurs Jane Yolen’s “How Do Dinosaurs” books are sure to fire up the imaginations of little boys and girls alike. In this book, Yolen’s dinosaurs engage in some good (and not-so good!) bedtime behaviors that parents of “little dinosaurs” will surely recognize. Combining bright, cheerful illustrations and wonderful rhymes, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? is bound to become a household favorite.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Goodnight Book This one is a great choice if you have a truck-lover at home! With Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, your little one can bid goodnight to bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, and cement mixers who’ve worked hard all day at the construction site and are ready for bed. The pictures in this one (by the super-talented Tom Lichtenheld) are perfect — each truck has tons of personality! 🙂

YouTube video

How Will I Ever Sleep In This Bed?

How Will I Ever Sleep In this BedIf your toddler is close to making the transition from crib to bed, you’ll definitely want to check out How Will I Ever Sleep In This Bed? In it, a little boy is (understandably) anxious about moving from his tiny crib to a great big bed. He tries filling it with his stuffed animals, to make it seem less huge and empty — but then, he’s not sure there’ll be enough room for him! Your toddler will be comforted as he watches the book’s hero conquer his fear of the “big bed” and snuggle in for a night of peaceful, happy sleep.

Goodnight, Moon

Goodnight Moon Really — is any child’s bookshelf complete without a copy of Goodnight, Moon? This is probably the most beloved, classic bedtime book of all (and one that I know by heart, I’ve read it so many times!) Margaret Wise Brown’s enchanting rhymes and Clement Hurd’s unforgettable illustrations combine to create a memorable little book.

Kiss Good Night

Kiss Good Night This is such a cozy, sweet little book. Mrs. Bear is putting her little cub, Sam, to bed, but she’s not quite getting it right. Sam is still waiting for something. Mrs. Bear tries milk, a blanket, a book…what could she be forgetting? Perhaps a Kiss Good Night? A lovely book about bedtime routines and the special bond between a mommy and her little one.

Time For Bed

Time For Bed This has always been one of my all-time favorite bedtime books to read to my kids (especially when they were babies!) Mem Fox’s sleepy, dreamy text pairs perfectly with Jane Dyer’s beautiful illustrations of mommy animals snuggling up with their babies. Time For Bed is the ideal book to help quiet and calm your baby at bedtime.

Goodnight, My Duckling

Goodnight My Duckling I read Goodnight, My Duckling to my oldest son all the time. We read it so much, in fact, that we wore out our first copy and had to replace it! Mama Duck calls her ducklings to follow her home to bed, but one little duckling gets separated from his family. A wise old turtle saves the day and returns the little duckling to his nest, just in time to claim a special, snuggly spot beneath his mama’s wing.

The Going To Bed Book

Going to Bed BookWe had to include at least one Sandra Boynton book in this list. 🙂 (Visit her site, when you get a chance — it’s hysterical!) The Going To Bed Book, in true Boynton fashion, is pure bedtime silliness. Your little one will love reading about the ark full of animals who are preparing for bed by taking a bath (in one big tub), brushing their teeth, and doing exercises on deck.

What! Cried Granny

What Cried GrannyWe’re ending our list on a funny note with this one. What! Cried Granny is, according to the cover, “An Almost Bedtime Story”, and it lives up to its subtitle. Little Patrick is all set to have a sleepover at his granny’s house, until he points out that he doesn’t have a bed at her house. Granny cries (you guessed it), “What!?” and races outside to chop down a tree and build him one. Problem solved…until Patrick points out that he doesn’t have his teddy bear (or his blanket, or his pillow…) Good thing Patrick’s granny is so resourceful! If a grandparent in your family needs help with gift ideas for your toddler or preschooler, this would be a great book to suggest.

For more bedtime book ideas (and plenty of other sleep-related links!) be sure to visit The Baby Sleep Site®’s Pinterest page.

Thanks for reading! We hope that you can enjoy these books with your family!

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35 thoughts on “10 Must-Have Bedtime Books for Babies and Toddlers (Just In Time For the Holidays!)”

  1. Bear and hare books:

    ‘Where’s bear’ both of my boys first favourite book, helps counting to 10 too.




    Are all other fantasic reads to the collections.

    Also, I cant recall who it is by but

    ‘When I am big’

    ‘Thats not my monkey’

    My boys knew these off by heart. Not too wordy, for the younger ones!

    Im topping up their book collection from recommendations as when ive bought online before Ive found they can be too ‘old’ for toddlers so great to have recommendations.


  2. Amamzing post.These are all great suggestions! thanks for sharing . Recently I have bought a baby book called ” Sophie la Girafe Big Beep Beep Book” which encourages babie’s imagination and identification skills as they lift the tabs to identify the vehicle noises underneath each one.

  3. I love much more wordy books for my 2 1/2 year old. I’m thinking that “What Cried Granny” and the Nancy Tillman books someone suggested would be good for my lil one. Not sure what level of books I’m reading to her. Our favorites right now : “Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep”, “Night Night Dino-Snores”, “The Goodnight Train”, “I’m Not Sleepy” by Jane Chapman, “I Prayed For You” by Jean Fischer

    Thanks for the suggestions!!! 🙂

    • Hi Summer,
      Thanks for your comment! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the suggestions. Reading to your baby is one of the great joys of parenthood 🙂

  4. I really need your help and think this would be the best group to help! Some 20+ years ago, I would read several books to the kids before they went to bed, every single night, but their favorite was one about a child going to bed. As I recall the story, the child kisses Mommy and Daddy, Fluffy and Duffy, goes upstairs, they turn off the lights. The child yells for Mom that there’s a monster under the bed. Mommy turns on the light, no monsters, then the child kisses Mommy and Daddy again, then the words repeat “say goodnight to Fluffy, say goodnight to Duffy. Mommy turns off the light. Good night.” I can’t remember the rest of the words, the author, title, or anything, but the kids giggled every single time I read it to them. It was definitely a toddler book, possibly a board book but I can’t say for sure. One of my daughters just got married and I have been searching for this book for months. PLEASE someone tell me they recognize this book!?!

    • Hi Teresa,
      Thank you for visiting The Baby Sleep Site! I’m sorry to say I don’t recognize that book, but I hope someone else will! Good luck!

  5. Wonderful collection for toddlers. Soothing and little lovely stories make them sleep calmly and happily. Would add these in my collection for my growing baby. Thanks for the share.

  6. We love “Guess how much I love you”. It is a very sweet story and the illustrations are just amazing.

  7. @ Meghan Shivel — we love Big Red Barn, too! It’s another one that I have memorized at this point (having read it to three kids over the past 5 years!) And those Sandra Boynton’s are some of our favorites, too. My oldest used to dance around the room when I’d read Pajama Time!

    Thanks for the recommendation on Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead. I’m not familiar with that one, so it’s nice to hear about a new title!

    Thanks for commenting, Meghan 🙂

  8. Also Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead. That has a very relaxing and calming cadence and very little text.

  9. After reading Sandra Boynton’s Birthday Monsters and Night Night Little Pookie night after night, we got a few more for Christmas for both my almost 3 year old and our almost 1 year old. Favorites right now are Pajama Time and Snuggle Puppy. I also love Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. That and Goodnight Moon were the first routine books in her rotation as an older infant and young toddler.

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