Published on August 28th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books0
The Ultimate List of Bedtime Stories for Kids – and Parents
Just like children, these bedtime stories come in all shapes and sizes.
Best of all, each of these bedtime books has been thoroughly road tested. So not only will your kids love them, parents will enjoy reading these thoughtful, amusing and creative works as well. And hey, it’s your bedtime story too! Whether you’re looking for bedtime stories for babies, toddlers, stories that make you laugh or stories that encourage hugs, you’ll find them in The ultimate list of bedtime stories for kids – and parents.
Our Top Bedtime Stories for Babies
A happily sleeping baby is one of the great joys of parenthood! These bedtime stories will help put your little one into the right frame of mind to gently drift off. Best of all, you’ll also look forward to your bedtime ritual just that little bit more… knowing you’ll be reading these creative and thoughtful bedtime stories.
by Sandra Boynton
Getting ready for sleep is tons of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic, perfect to wind down the day. A joyful, silly group of animals, illustrated in Boynton’s distinctive, exuberant style, scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep. You’ll find yourself reading this one over and over and over again – so luckily it’s just as appealing for parents & carers as it is for young minds. One of our favorite bedtime stories.
by Il Sung Na
Bedtime stories don’t come any better than this. A Book of Sleep is one of those amazing kids books that delights your eye from the very first page and holds your attention to the very end. Il Sung Na makes his English language debut with this gorgeous bedtime offering. With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is a true “book of sleep”.
By Margaret Wise Brown
In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.”
In this classic of modern children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect bedtime story for the end of the day. Goodnight Moon has literally helped send millions of little one’s to sleep – and is one of the most popular bedtime stories ever written.
By Amy Hest
With stunning illustrations, the simple rythym of this bedtime story appeals to both the reader and child. Mrs Bear and Sam provide a cadence to your bedtime ritual that will soon have sleep-fighting tots relinquishing their day to the night. A bedtime story par excellence.
by Eric Carle
A much-loved classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has won over millions of readers with its vivid and colourful collage illustrations and its deceptively simply, hopeful story. With its die-cut pages and finger-sized holes to explore, this is a richly satisfying book for bedtime.
by Mem Fox
You absolutely cannot go wrong with a Mem Fox book. In Time for Bed, Fox teams with illustrator Jane Dyer to create a charming, beautiful bedtime story book that will soothe and calm even the wildest beast, or child. Gentle, rhythmic text and dreamy watercolors lead to yawns, sleepy eyes, and dozing babies. One of the very best bedtime stories for babies.
The Best Bedtime Stories for Kids – Age 3-5 Years Old
One thing about your bedtime stories, is that everybody (including parents) looks forward to the reading ritual. These bedtime stories for kids aged 3-5 provide the perfect amount of laughs and sleep inducing cues – so that everyone finishes their day on a high. Happy reading and sweet dreams!
by Peggy Rathman
“Good night, Gorilla,” says the weary watchman as he walks by the gorilla cage on his nightly rounds at the zoo. Universally understandable subject matter – and a narrative conveyed almost entirely through pictures – mark this as an ideal title for beginners. Author and illustrator Peggy Rathmann (creator of the Caldecott-winning Officer Buckle and Gloria) relies more on the nuances of her jewel-toned pictures, than on words to pace this giggly bedtime story – making it perfect for observant preschoolers and one of the best bedtime stories for kids aged 3-5.
by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
When Bonnie and Ben’s favorite baby sitter, Skinny Doug, offers a bedtime salute of “Good night, sleep tight, hope the fleas don’t bite!” he embarks on a command performance of seven traditional rhymes. Good Night, Sleep Tight reunites bestselling picture book author Mem Fox with illustrator Judy Horacek, following their collaboration on Where is the Green Sheep? No doubt you’ll wish you had a baby sitter just like Skinny Doug, in this warm hearted tale that’s just perfect for bedtime reading. Super fun and easily one of the best bedtime stories for kids going around.
by Emily Winfield Martin
Perfect for bed time reading, this book will appeal to parents and children alike. Emily Martin convinces children to close their eyes and discover who their dream animal might be – and what dream it might take them to. With a perfect night time rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this delightful and whimsical book will inevitably become one of your favorite bedtime stories.
by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare bedtime books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you’re not so sure… then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus! The wild things – with their mismatched parts and giant eyes – manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious. Sendak’s defiantly run-on sentences – one of his trademarks – lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination. One of the all-time classic bedtime stories of all time!
by Lisa McCourt
Mothers love their children and this unconditional love is truly tested in I Love You, Stinky Face. Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore beautifully weave a reassuring tale of the love and affection of a parent. The imaginative son turns himself into a meat-eating dinosaur, a swamp creature and much, much more… before being satisfied with the fact that no matter how stinky he is or how slimy of a creature he could possibly be, he is loved and nothing will change that. A lovely – and highly amusing – addition to your night-time ritual and one of our favorite bedtime stories for kids.
by Anna Dewdney
In this infectious rhyming read-aloud, Baby Llama turns bedtime into an all-out llama drama! The simple rhymes call out for repeating, and the whimsical illustrations cleverly dramatize the increasing panic. Key worry words, such as fret, are highlighted, and for extra humor, Baby Llama’s toy llama mimics his every expression. A real charmer among bedtime stories that will leave preschoolers giggling – and parents appreciating the familiar scenario. One of the genuinely delightful bedtime stories for kids aged 3-5 years old, that parents will adore too.
by Myra Wolfe
If only bedtime could walk the plank! Charlotte Jane the Hearty gets all the juice out of her days with pirate-girl pizzazz! She loves swashbuckling sessions, treasure hunts, and Fantastic Feats of Daring – all of which prove she has “formidable” oomph. There’s absolutely no room in her day for bedtime. But can Charlotte Jane refuse to snooze and still be her hearty pirate self? Quirky and original… Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime is one of those bedtime stories for kids with a difference!
by Dallas Clayton
Inspired by the idea of being thankful for all that you have, An Awesome Book of Thanks! is a beautifully written, fantastically illustrated walk through a world of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, and all of life’s simple moments, great and small. Crafted for children ages 0-1000, this timeless story is sure to be an instant classic, at home in the hands of anyone looking for the perfect reminder of just how beautiful life can be.
The book conveys, in pictures and simple yet beautiful language, all the ways one can be thankful – and all the different things in life to be thankful for. And while you could read the Awesome Book of Thanks at any time of the day… it really is the perfect bedtime story for kids.
Funny Bedtime Stories for Kids
These funny bedtime stories are the perfect way to end the day – for both kids and adults.
Let’s face it, kids bedtime can sometimes be a challenge. However, with these highly amusing, delightful and funny bedtime stories, kids will go to sleep with a smile on their face. And better still, parents will get a good laugh out of these thoroughly enjoyable funny bedtime stories too! Happy dreams.
by Mo Willems
Everyone’s favorite Pigeon is back for this interactive bedtime romp, in which he tries to escape his inevitable bedtime. Youngsters are thrust into the role of caregiver, as the pigeon attempts to talk his way out of the inevitable bedtime. Coming up with requests that range from manipulative (I hear there’s a good show about birds on TV tonight. Should be very educational.) to cajoling (Y’know, we never get to talk anymore. Tell me about your day!) to the classic (Can I have a glass of water?). Defying drowsiness to the last, he finally falls asleep, clutching his stuffed bunny tightly under his wing. Children will be charmed by this bedtime treat, which will have them laughing (and you) out loud at the pigeon – and at themselves. Mo Willems has written and illustrated a one of the best laugh-out-loud funny bedtime stories for kids – and will have you laughing all the way to bedtime.
By Jez Alborough
How can it be that a book with only one word – hug- repeated throughout, can be so good? The proof is in the pudding (or the wilds of Africa) in Jez Alborough’s picture book Hug, a delightful mini odyssey of a baby chimpanzee on the hunt for his mum and a cuddle.
Our little friend wanders through the trees, witnessing many other animals from chameleons to giraffes as they snuggle together. “Hug,” he says, happily, at first, but then with growing despair as he sees there are no hugs for him. The story is told purely by the expression on the little chimp’s face as his hopes are built up and dashed again and again… until eventually, with a huge smile, he finds his mum and reaps the reward.
Hug is a clever, unusual book that portrays the art of children’s illustration at its very best: a story brought to life with the stroke of a brush through facial expressions and body language that kids will immediately understand. Setting the standard for funny bedtime stories for kids.
by Judith Viorst
“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.“
So begins the trials and tribulations of the irascible Alexander, who has been earning the sympathy of readers since 1972. People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad. As Alexander’s day progresses, he faces a barrage of bummers worthy of a country-western song: getting smushed in the middle seat of the car, a dessertless lunch sack, a cavity at the dentist’s office, stripeless sneakers, witnessing kissing on television, and being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He even resolves several times to move to Australia!
Judith Viorst flawlessly and humorously captures a child’s testy temperament, rendering Alexander sympathetic rather than whiny. Our hero’s gum-styled hair and peevish countenance are artfully depicted by Ray Cruz’s illustrations. This is for older readers (5-8), but children and adults alike will delight in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - one of the classic funny bedtime stories.
by Karma Wilson
It seems like Bear can sleep through anything. As a succession of animals enter his cave to escape the fierce storm, he continues to snore. Mouse makes a nice warm fire, Hare cooks popcorn and Badger brings treats…They are having a great time. But when Bear wakes up and realises he’s missed out on the fun, his visitors fear the worst. Can Bear be persuaded to join the party? This read-aloud rhyming story has fun, suspense and a happy ending – with Jane Chapman’s beautiful, captivating illustrations and Karma Wilson’s absorbing, lyrical words perfectly depicting the companionship of the warm, cosy cave and the contrast with the wild storm outside. If you’re looking for some funny bedtime stories, then Bear Snores On is a worthy addition to your bookshelf.
by Giles Andreae
Gerald would love to join in with the other animals at the Jungle Dance, but everyone knows that giraffes can’t dance …or can they? Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.
With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness. The perfect way to end the day and one of our favorite funny bedtime stories for kids.
Bedtime Stories that Lead to Lots of Hugs & Kisses – Age 3-5
If there’s anything more wonderful than receiving lots of hugs from your special little person… we’re yet to discover it. These are the bedtime stories that lead to lots of hugs and kisses from your three to five year old. Better still, they also make great bed time reading.
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
One small act of love blooms into something bigger and more dazzling than Little Miss could have ever imagined… in this epic journey about life, kindness, and giving. New York Times bestselling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and award-winning illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have teamed together for the first time, creating a simple and beautiful way to tell children about the positive energy of Love.
by Eileen Spinelli
A tiny squeeze is all it takes. With this simple action you can turn a frown into a smile and show that you care. One hug can mean everything, so hug your mom, hug your dad, hug your sister or your brother, and hug your friend. Eileen Spinelli and Dan Andreasen have created a sweet, simple, and poetic picture book about the power of a loving hug that is a sure bet to brighten your day — just like a hug!
by Jez Alborough
Eddie’s in for the surprise of his life when he discovers that his teddy bear has grown much too big to cuddle! But there’s fun in store when Eddie meets up with a real bear who’s got just the opposite problem—his lost teddy bear has shrunk to a size that’s much too small for such an enormous bear to cuddle. Could it be a case of mistaken identity? This fast-paced comedy of errors, illustrated with Jez Alborough’s quirky artwork, is guaranteed to have children—and bears alike—reaching for their teddies!
by Todd Parr
With childlike smiling stick figures, bold, brilliant color, and upbeat text, picture-book creator Todd Parr celebrates the diverse, wonderful world of fathers in The Daddy Book. Parr focuses on the differences between individual parents (“Some daddies make cookies. Some daddies stop for doughnuts.”), but brings it all together every few pages with lines like, “All daddies love to kiss and hug you!” or “All daddies like to watch you sleep!” Parr’s quirky artwork and eternally optimistic – yet never saccharine – books are truly irresistible, for both grown-ups and kids.
by Dallas Clayton
This follow-up to An Awesome Book! combines engaging illustrations and snappy rhymes that invite youngsters to consider the endless number of loving relationships, from the love shared by spouses to the bond between parents and children. There are so many different kinds of love, and Clayton knows just how to describe them all. Readers can take a walk on the loving side, as the snappy rhyme perfectly details just how their heart feels.
The Very Best Short Bedtime Stories
These short bedtime stories are perfect for the times when you’re past bedtime but still want to maintain your reading routine.
These short bedtime stories are also perfect for tired children (and parents) – or younger children who struggle to maintain attention for longer bedtime books. In fact, these short bedtime stories are so good that you don’t need any excuse to read them whatsoever. The adage ‘quality over quantity’ has rarely been so true!
by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, is the simple tale of a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Keats’s illustrations, using cut-outs, watercolors, and collage, are strikingly beautiful in their understated color and composition. Awakening to a winter wonderland is an ageless, ever-magical experience, and one made nearly visceral by Keats’s gentle tribute.
The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was “the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero” – yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. Today, it’s still as unique and special as a snowflake. One of the truly classic children’s books from your childhood, that also happens to be one of the truly wonderful short bedtime stories.
by Don Freeman
Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene in 1976. Corduroy is the perfect children’s book. It is a gentle, sweet tale of a little bear in green cordoroy overalls waiting to be purchased in a department store. Youngsters (and adults!) will never get tired of this toy-comes-alive tale with a seriously happy ending. One of our favourite short bedtime stories for kids.
by Nancy Tillman
On the night you were born, you brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning. Polar bears danced. Here is a book that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved. This is one of the short bedtime stories that will have both you and your child filled with love and happiness.
by Sam McBratney
“Guess how much I love you,” says Little Nutbrown Hare. Little Nutbrown Hare shows his daddy how much he loves him: as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. But Big Nutbrown Hare, who can reach farther and hop higher, loves him back just as much. Well then Little Nutbrown Hare loves him right up to the moon, but that’s just halfway to Big Nutbrown Hare’s love for him. One of the short bedtime stories that gets regular repeat readings in our house.
by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
When all the letters of the alphabet race one another up the coconut tree, will there be enough room? Of course there is always enough room for this rollicking alphabet chant that has been a children’s favorite for more than twenty years! Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault’s rhythmic text keeps the beat with Caldecott Honor illustrator Lois Ehlert’s bold, cheerful art. And while this is the full version of the book (there’s a shorter Board Book version available too), we feel this is still worthy of any list of short bedtime stories. Enjoy!
We trust you’ve enjoyed this list of bedtime stories. However, if we’ve missed one of your favorites, or you’d like to share how much one (or more) of these books has meant to you, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.