Good Night, Sleep Tight: Favorite Bedtime Books for Toddlers & Preschoolers


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If there are little people at your house, you probably have Goodnight Moon memorized by now.

And Good Night, Gorilla.  And possibly Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.

These all are wonderful books, and we do love them here at the Yankee Homestead.

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Older Brother at 9 months, listening to the Spanish version of Goodnight Moon

But sometimes, even Goodnight Moon can get old (even in Spanish).

So, here are a few of our very favorite books with a bedtime theme:

Bunny Bungalow by Cynthia Rylant

This is one of our all-time favorites.  It’s been a big hit with both boys when they were about 2-4 years old.  Cynthia Rylant is a well-known children’s book author, but this is probably one of her lesser-known titles.  I was thrilled to discover it on the book table at a Sally Clarkson conference.  The words are just perfect and the pictures are simply delightful!  Highly recommend!

Night In The Country by Cynthia Rylant

We love Cynthia Rylant at our house!  She grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, which are very close to our Yankee Homestead.  We can identify with so many of her subjects, which is definitely the case with this one.  I didn’t discover this title until Older Brother was a little too old, but Little Brother is currently LOVING it.  His favorite pages are the one with the apple falling from the tree and the book’s closing picture of a little boy with a kite.

Sleep Tight by B.G. Hennessy

We love the painted illustrations in this one.  And the rhyming words are engaging for the 2-4 year old crowd (and their mamas).  Both boys were especially drawn to the “bugs are sleeping in the cracks” page.

Where are the bugs, Mama?

They’re hiding down in the cracks.  We can’t see them.

Oh.  {squinting to look into the cracks}

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

We met this book while working our way through Before Five In A Row.  What a wonderful book!  Again, both boys have absolutely loved it (even though the main character is a little girl).    Lovely, lovely poem with wonderful illustrations.  Both boys especially love the page picturing children from all over the world.  (Can you find the little girl?)  Also available in board book format.

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?  by Nancy White Carlstrom

This is another all-time favorite from BFIAR.  We absolutely LOVE all the Jesse Bear books, of which this is the first.  A delightful trip through a little bear’s day, beginning with getting dressed and ending with drifting off to sleep.  Illustrated by Bruce Degen, the author/illustrator of Jamberry (and many other titles).

A Child’s Good Night Book by Margaret Wise Brown

This is Margaret Wise Brown’s other bedtime book, much less known than Goodnight Moon.  But it’s equally delightful!  It has more words than Goodnight Moon, so it’s a logical next step after that book.  Little Brother LOVES the pictures in this book.

Night is coming.  Everything is going to sleep.  The sun goes over to the other side of the world…

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

Oh my goodness, we LOVE Frances at the Yankee Homestead!  Russell Hoban is a genious children’s author and Garth Williams provides the classic illustrations.  We have every single Frances book and have logged many minutes (maybe even hours?) reading them to Big Brother.  He even had a Frances-themed 5th birthday party!  I can’t wait until Little Brother is old enough to meet her…

What’s your favorite bedtime book?

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. godmadeknown on 10/05/2012 at 11:57 pm

    Since moving to Hawaii our favorite has become “Goodnight Hawaiian Moon” which reads a lot like the old favorite “Goodnight Moon.” Also, since we are studying astronomy this year I picked up “The Moon Shines Down” also by Margaret Wise Brown and it’s really cute.

  2. Courtney on 10/07/2012 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks, Kathleen. I always love sharing suggestions for good books. We learned to love Cynthia Rylant through all of the Henry and Mudge books. Also, we own her, “When I was Young in the Mountains.” I think you’d like that one, too.

    • yankeehomesteader on 10/08/2012 at 1:22 am

      Courtney, We DO love (& own) When I Was Young in the Mts! Such a great book. And “Older Brother” LOVES Henry & Mudge, too. Love Cynthia Rylant!

    • yankeehomesteader on 10/08/2012 at 1:23 am

      How fun to have a Hawaiian version! And we’ve read The Moon Shines Down, too. Love Margaret Wise Brown! 🙂

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