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Our top 10 bedtime stories

There are so many books which would make fantastic bedtime reads. We hope you will discover lots of stories to enjoy on Lovemybooks and develop your own favourites with your children for bedtime or anytime!

Here we’ve chosen a selection of books specifically about bedtime. There are stories to reassure: about fears of the dark or being alone. There are stories about being reluctant to go to bed, and stories about being desperate to go to sleep. There are night time adventures and stories about loving relationships. In addition we have included an anthology of stories and rhymes for the very young. Some of the books here are linked to our activity pages with ideas for daytime story fun too. We hope you enjoy them.

cant-you-sleepCan’t you sleep little bear?
Martin Waddell, Barbara Firth (illus)
Walker
Age 3-7

It is night time but Little Bear cannot sleep because he is scared of the dark. Big Bear understands his worries and tries to help with a tiny lantern, but it is too small to take away the ‘dark all around’ so Big Bear brings bigger and bigger lanterns. Nothing makes a difference, until that is, he carries Little Bear outside to show him that the dark isn’t really that scary with the bright yellow moon and twinkly stars there to light it up. Reassured Little Bear settles happily to sleep and Big Bear is left in peace to read his book.

goodnight-already-copyGoodnight Already!
Jory John, Benji Davies (illus)
Harper Collins
Age 3-5

Bear desperately wants to go to sleep, but Duck (his neighbour) desperately wants company. Goodnight Already is very amusing story with two appealing characters, poor sleep deprived Bear and irrepressibly attention seeking Duck.

When children are familiar with the story they can join in; each of you could take turns being Duck or Bear and have fun repeating some of their conversations.

Watch a trailer here

goodnight-everyoneGoodnight Everyone
Chris Haughton
Walker
Age 0-5

Visually stunning with a vibrant palette, this is a delightful picture book likely to become a favourite at bedtime. It is night time in the forest. All the animals are sleepy, stretching and yawning with heavy eyes, ready for bed. All that is except Little Bear who just wants to play. The build-up of the sleepy animals’ yawns make this story fun to share and join in with.  Older children (5+) and adults will also enjoy the end papers which show the constellations of the night sky and planets in our solar system.

goodnight_spaceman-copyGoodnight Spaceman
Michelle Robinson, Nick East (illus)
Puffin
Age 3-7

As two young boys get ready for bed they look out of the window at the starry night and think about their daddy, an astronaut, in his rocket ship and imagine what they would see and do if they were in space as well. In no time at all they find themselves having an adventure of their own as they blast off from earth and meet their dad in space.

Goodnight Spaceman is a rhyming bedtime story with striking illustrations inspired by British astronaut Tim Peake and his young sons who watched him take off for the international space station. Produced in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and with a foreword by Tim Peake, this is a story to inspire lots of space themed fun.

See our ideas for daytime story fun here

guess_how_much_coverGuess how much I love you
Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram (illus)
Walker Books
Age 0-5

It is bedtime and Little Brown Hare desperately wants to get Big Brown Hare’s attention and impress him ‘Guess how much I love you?…..as high as I can reach!’ but no matter what he says and does Big Brown Hare can stretch further and jump higher.  It becomes a game with ever more amazing claims, will Little Brown Hare ever win? Eventually, as he dozes off to sleep he seems to, but who will have the last word? A warm and appealing story, perfect for saying goodnight.

max-at-nightMax at Night
Ed Vere
Puffin
Age 0-5

Sleepily getting ready for bed, a tiny kitten called Max drinks his milk and brushes his teeth. Then he starts to say goodnight to everything around him, and wants to say goodnight to Moon, but cannot find him so decides to go looking. But no matter how high he climbs he still cannot see Moon and gets very frustrated until Wind blows the clouds away. Moon reassures Max he can hear him from his bedroom so there is no need to go out searching (parents will be pleased to hear!) The story ends with a contented Max curled up fast asleep.

This is a delightful bedtime adventure story perfect for repeated readings and a great way for young children to start to think about the wonder of the moon and the night sky depicted beautifully in the gorgeous illustrations.

See our activity page for Max the Brave in our heroes and villains section.

owl-babies-2Owl Babies Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illus)
Walker
Age 3-5

This gently humorous picturebook deals sensitively with childhood fears. Three baby owls, Sarah, Percy and Bill, awake one night to find themselves alone in the dark forest. Their owl mother has flown off in search of food but they worry she may not return. Each has a different way of coping with their fears. All is well when the family is reunited at the end of the story, to the visible delight of little Bill. Black backgrounds beautifully evoke the night time setting.

See our ideas for daytime fun with Owl Babies and animation here.

peace at lastPeace at Last                                               Jill Murphy
Macmillan
Age 3-7

It’s late and everyone is tired and wants to get some sleep. But Mr Bear can’t sleep. Every noise keeps him awake and, whatever he tries, he still can’t sleep. This classic picturebook follows him through the night, telling his story with gentle humour. The repetition encourages children to join in with Mr. Bear’s, “Oh NO! I can’t stand THIS!” with great relish.

Here’s a book that’s great for chiming in with sound effects and talking about family experiences.

See our ideas for daytime fun with Peace at Last here.

time-for-bed-fredTime for Bed Fred
Yasmeen Ismail
Bloomsbury
Age 3-5

It’s late, and definitely time for Fred, a lovable dog, to settle down and go to bed. But Fred is not being at all cooperative, he disappears into the garden, up a tree, in a muddy puddle and anywhere he can to avoid going to bed.  Children will enjoy joining in with the repeated phrases – ‘That’s not your bed Fred!’ Parents and children will recognise Fred’s determined bedtime avoidance tactics in this amusing and delightfully illustrated picturebook!

Watch the story read aloud here.

baby-treasuryThe Puffin Baby and Toddler Treasury
Puffin
Age 0-5

This treasury for the very young includes a selection of traditional stories such as The Gingerbread Man and The Three Little Pigs. Other stories feature well known characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tom Kitten, Spot the Dog and Shirley Hughes’ Lucy and Tom. In addition there are lots of rhymes and poetry, many perfect for bedtime such as Star Light Star Bright. The treasury is attractively illustrated by a wide range of well-known illustrators.

A useful book to dip into and develop your own family favourites,   of both stories and rhymes.

See also our Top 10 poetry and our Top 10 folk and fairy tales.