The Best Goodnight Books for Little Ones

If you’re a parent, you’ve more than likely read Goodnight Moon a thousand times. (Honestly, I read that book a thousand times to kids I babysat!) So I thought I’d compile a list of some of our favorite goodnight books. We love to read so I’m sure this post will have a sequel (or two) but for now, here are some of our favorites.

Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead book review @jenniemoraitis.comI think Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead was the first book our daughter memorized. I know, what a reason to include it on this list! But it really is sweet as the little girl says goodnight to each of her toys in turn (“Goodnight eyes” to the long-lashed toy lamb, etc.) I am always interested in seeing how different artists draw children, and Jane Dyer is particularly interesting to me since her style changes from book to book.

Big Thoughts for Little People review @jenniemoraitis.comBig Thoughts for Little People: ABC’s to Help You Grow is a favorite for us. We used to just read the little poem and Bible verse for the alphabet letters but as our daughter has gotten older, we’ve added the short paragraph as well. I do like that there are simple questions to ask your child too. And to be completely honest, we love searching for the ladybugs and multiple alphabet items on each page (the apple, acorn, and abacus on the “A” page, for example.) This book is very well-worn, and we love it.

Goodnight Songs review @jenniemoraitis.comDid you know that Margaret Wise Brown (author of the aforementioned Goodnight Moon) wrote songs? Apparently, she wrote many songs that were stashed away for years. Goodnight Songs has been one of those surprise finds that just keeps on getting better with each reading. My mom bought it for us for Christmas so it’s still fairly new, but I really like it. The book is full of poems and includes a cd that sounds like something I would listen to anyway: acoustic guitars, a thumb piano, a fiddle, and a penny whistle. Tom Proutt and Emily Gary create such beautiful melodies you’ll find yourself humming along and then laughing when you realize you’re singing about sleeping like a rabbit. Very sweet.

The Runaway Hug review @jenniemoraitis.comWe came across The Runaway Hug on a shelf in the library. (I love it when the librarians face out certain books; I almost always choose them.) The illustrations are darling: the house riddled with toys lying around and laundry needing to be done actually reminds me of a real home. This story is about a little girl whose mommy tells her that she can borrow her very last hug as long as she returns it. Of course, the little girl takes her mommy seriously and is very sad when one of the hugs runs away!

Time for Bed review @jenniemoraitis.comAnother favorite is Time for Bed. This was actually one of the first books we read to our daughter. All of the animals are saying goodnight to their babies. I love the line that the mother cow asks her baby, “What happened today that made you laugh?” Isn’t that such a nice question to think about? Jane Dyer’s watercolor illustrations are gorgeous. I began looking for her books after reading this one. (The one and only downfall in this book, in my opinion, is one of the spreads has a mother rattlesnake saying goodnight to her baby. My daughter could care less, but I cringe every time I read that page. I am not a snake person and would really rather not think about them before bed. !!!)

Sweet Dreams book review @jenniemoraitis.comI’ll admit that I bought Sweet Dreams because I love Amy June Bates’ illustrations. Love them. And in this book, she creates a magical world by using chalkboard-painted paper and sketching outlines in chalk and details with gouache. It’s such a beautiful way to create a dream world. The singer, Jewel, wrote the song, Sweet Dreams, and so this book, like Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Songs, is essentially lyrics. I think this book is magical.


Well, that’s it for now. As I wrote this list, more and more goodnight books came to mind but I’ll stop for now.

Did you have any favorite goodnight books from your childhood? Or a favorite goodnight book that you read to your kids today?



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35 responses to “The Best Goodnight Books for Little Ones”

  1. Brandi @ penguinsinpink Avatar

    What a great list! Other than Good Night Moon I have never read or heard of those others. I think we may have to pick some up. My girls would like them.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I think they would! I found all of these at the library originally; it’s a great way to test-drive books! 😉

  2. janell kremer Avatar

    These are great! I love the Runaway Hug!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Isn’t it so cute?! 🙂 Love it. 🙂

  3. TwoPlusCute Avatar

    I will add Sweet Dreams in my ‘to buy’ list. Sounds wonderful. We – typically – read Goodnight Moon as the last book every night – the cue to sleep.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I really love “Sweet Dreams”! 🙂 It came with a cd but I just read it–very sweet. 🙂

  4. keri Avatar

    Such a great list of books! Love a good bedtime book 🙂

  5. Emily Avatar

    We love Time for Bed. It made my list of top ten baby books (on my blog).

    Big Thoughts for Tiny People looks sweet. Pinned for later!

    We also like Time for Bed P.B. Bear.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, I’ll have to look up Time for Bed P.B. Bear! Thanks for the suggestion and for stopping by. 🙂

  6. Tessy Fuller Avatar

    Good Night my angel, a lullaby – another song/lyric book — Billy Joel. Illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert are gorgeous.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I’m going to have to check that one out! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  7. Amy S Avatar
    Amy S

    Time for Bed is one of our all time favorite books! We also love The Big Red Barn, Guess How Much I Love You and the lesser know Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison. Thanks so much for the list. I look forward to finding them at the library this week.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks for your recommendations! I’ve never heard of the book by Wendy Lewison–will have to check it out! 🙂

  8. Avatar

    Those looks like some really beautiful books, most of which I’ve never hear of before!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I love them! These were originally discoveries at the library…:) Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Emily Avatar

    Thank you for posting this. I want to stock up on books for my baby so they’re ready to read to her when she’s old enough. Sometimes I’m at a loss, except for the obvious classics, as to what is good anymore!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I hear you! Our library has a little brochure that is for each age group (Babies, Toddlers, etc.) and that has been really helpful for me. 🙂

  10. Kim Cunningham Avatar

    There are several new titles for me here. I remember our Goodnight Moon days.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      It goes by so fast, doesn’t it?

  11. Agatha Avatar

    For us it was Goodnight Moon and the Big Red Barn!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Love those! 🙂 I need to check Big Red Barn out at the library again…love the library. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  12. Sharlee Avatar

    I’m visiting from the Pretty Pintastic Link-Up! I’m a new mom to a little girl just over a year, this is a very awesome resource!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 I hope you like these books! 🙂

  13. Kristen from The Road to Domestication Avatar

    These are great suggestions! Books before bed in general are a wonderful idea…even for adults! Thanks for joining us at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again next week! Feel free to bring a friend with you 🙂 Happy Friday! #TGIF

  14. Smile Tinsley Avatar

    Oh sweet! We love books in our house, we’ll have to check these out. The Runaway Hug sounds fun…thanks for the recommendations. #fridayfavorites with The Diary of a Real Housewife.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      It is a really sweet book. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Amy @ Ms. Toody Goo Shoes Avatar

    Oh, how I miss reading this books! My son loved Time For Bed. Thanks so much for linking this up at Best of the Weekend!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You’re welcome! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  16. Kristy Omelianuk Avatar

    My 2.5 year old loves books and we are always looking for new ones to add to our library. These sound cute and new to us. Thanks for linking up with the SITS Saturday Sharefest!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You’re so welcome! I’m always on the lookout for new books too–hope you enjoy these! 🙂

  17. Elaine Avatar

    Can’t wait to read to my granddaughters!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday – Link Party!! Hope you come back tomorrow and share some more!! Pinned!!

  18. Jenny @ Women With Intention Avatar

    Great list! We have read so many but my son’s favorite forever and ever was Big Red Barn. I can recite that whole book without the book. He can, too. 🙂 Thank you for sharing at Women With Intention Wednesdays! I look forward to what you will be sharing this week!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I need to re-check Big Red Barn out at the library today–so many people have recommended it here in the comments and I can’t seem to remember it! :/ And yes, we have so many books memorized. I find myself quoting them and then have to stop…too funny. 🙂

  19. Heidy@ The McCallums Shamrock Patch Avatar

    Thank you for joining us on #PureBlog Love link party with this wonderful blog post, please be sure to join us this weekend starting tonight at 8 PM EST on

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You’re so welcome! Thanks for stopping by–heading over to your blog right now. 🙂

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