Please note this post may include affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy here.
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.
I 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: 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.
Did 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.
We 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!
Another 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. !!!)
I’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.