Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to bedtime and dreams. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about bedtime and dreams.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
We hope this list of kids books about bedtime and dreams can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
AN IMPOSSIBLY CUDDLY BABY POLAR BEAR travels from one magical place to another. “Hush baby polar bear. Sleep in the snow, and dream of the places where sleeping bears go.” Readers follow a baby snow-white plush polar bear that has been brought to life by his owner’s imagination from the back of a whale with the sea spray surrounding, to a land of tall grass where butterflies float by up into the sky itself…and happily right back through the window into the loving arms of his owner asleep in bed. Mack’s lush and lovable illustrations suit the lulling, rhyming text to make a perfect bedtime book sure to leave readers and listeners with warm and fuzzy feelings read after read.
This stunningly illustrated debut is The Runaway Bunny for a new generation–a captivating flight of fancy that also helps children lull themselves into dreamland. Little Bunny can’t sleep! There’s so much to think and wonder about, big and small. But with a nudge from Mommy, Little Bunny discovers that sometimes our thoughts can be turned into happy dreams . . . where anything is possible. Debut author and illustrator Leah Hong’s tender drawings and gentle dialogue between mother and child sing a modern lullaby for anyone who has trouble falling asleep–or whose imagination has soared at bedtime.
In Woodland Dreams, young readers say goodnight to beloved woodland animals as they prepare to sleep. This sweet bedtime book is at once a picture book and a lullaby, pairing familiar bedtime routines with nonfiction elements. Little ones will follow along as each animal returns to their warm and cozy woodland home. - Each adorable animal has their own special nighttime routine.- Charming illustrations by celebrated artist Marc Boutavant- Each animal is presented in an approachable, sleep-affirming way. And once every creature is tucked in tight, shhh . . . It’s time for everyone to say goodnight. From the fox curling up in her den to the turtle dozing off in his shell, Woodland Dreams will send your little one off to sleep with a gentle and loving goodnight. - The lyrical text is perfect for bedtime read-alouds, engaging little readers with beautiful illustrations and a cozy rhyming narrative.- Ideal for children ages 3 to 5 years old- Resonates year-round as a go-to gift for toddler birthdays, holidays, and more- Perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers- Add it to the shelf with books like Time for Bed by Mem Fox, The Goodnight Train by June Sobel, and If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul,
What would you do to rescue your most precious dream? Susana’s best friend moved away, and now the only time Susana can see her is in her dreams. Until one night when the dream suddenly ends. The Dream Stealer has come, her grandmother says. The Dream Stealer does not want pretty silver earrings or dangly gold necklaces, diamonds or rubies. He wants dreams. He’s supposed to take only nightmares, but he’s grown scared of the monsters and phantoms. He’s been stealing good dreams instead. But he’s stolen from the wrong girl. Susana is clever. She is fearless. And she wants her dream back.
Go on an adventure with a young koala named Claire, who fills her day with endless activities, in a continued attempt to avoid going to sleep. Playful and entertaining, this sweet, rhythmic story has a steady flow that is ideal for young children and early readers. It also displays colorful illustrations that will capture a baby’s attention and spark engagement on every page. This fun read is great for the whole family, with a loveable character who will become a fast favorite on your bookshelf at home.
Good Night St Louis - From the Gateway Arch to scenic Forest Park, this charming board book captures the spirit of St. Louis. Young readers will be captivated by a creative and colorful tour that includes City Center, Busch Stadium, St. Louis Zoo, Magic House, Citygarden, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Grant’s Farm, St. Louis Science Center, Onondaga Cave State Park, and more.
Where the Wild Things Are - Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf. Introduce a new generation to Max’s imaginative journey with this special anniversary edition. Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak’s artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in 2012. This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations.
Every Color of Light: A Book about the Sky - Gentle and lyrical, Every Color of Light is a bedtime story told by the elements. Every Color of Light opens on a lush, green forest in the rain. Illustrated by the masterful Ryoji Arai, the calm is shattered when the wind picks up and lightning cuts the sky. Yet out of this turbulence, the day blooms bright, the flowers open, and raindrops roll and drip down to the forest floor. The sun sets. The moon rises, and in a pool of water we see its reflection. We go to sleep with the forest, sinking into the pool, into the calm reflection of the moon. Harmonizing our human experience to the natural world, Arai invites the reader to hold imaginative space for our oneness with the natural world. Ryôji Arai was born in Yamagata, Japan, in 1956. He has an illustrative style all of his own: bold, mischievous, and unpredictable. Arai studied art at Nippon University. His art is at once genuine and truly poetic, encouraging children to paint and to tell their own stories. He took the Japanese picture-book world by storm in the 1990s. Since then, he has one multiple awards, including the international Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005. David Boyd is Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His translations have appeared in Monkey Business International, Granta, and Words Without Borders, among other publications.
The Snatchabook - Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down…when a Snatchabook flew into town. It’s bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.
Join Belle and her bunny, Boo, as they follow ballerinas, cowboys, pirates, and others through dreamy fantasies to a cozy bed of their own. Gentle rhymes and luminous illustrations will help little ones wind down and tuck in for a good night’s sleep. This lullaby journey is as captivating and soothing as any parent or child could want — by the end, there won’t be an open eye in the house!
Belle &amp;amp; Boo is a British lifestyle brand known for original, nostalgic ‘story book’ illustrations of children. Visit them at belleandboo.com.
Make goodbyes fun with animal rhymes and colorful lift-the-flap illustrations!
“So long!” “See you later!” There are so many ways to say goodbye! Lift the flaps in this colorful book to discover favorite animals (and maybe a few new ones, too) and fun goodbyes. Children and grown-ups alike will be giggling before you can say, “Toodle-Loo, Kangaroo!”
Float along with the Fog Maiden as she takes two children on an enchanted bedtime adventure in this classic from the bestselling author of Strega Nona, Quiet, and more– now back in print!
When everyone was fast asleep, two children were awakened by Token, the Fog Maiden’s mysterious cat, and sent into the magical night.
Gentle and lyrical, this forgotten classic bedtime story from the author of Quiet and Strega Nona is back to enchant a new generation of fans. Soft illustrations paired with an imaginative text take readers on a dreamlike journey– sharing milk and honey with the trolls, watching the peacocks waltz, and attending a palace ball– before tucking them safely back into bed.
Cozy, quiet, and sure to delight, the Fog Maiden’s sweet dream is made to be shared.
Once there was a Prince who was afraid of the dark–like so many children are. But this boy became King and actually did something about it: he banned the dark completely! Soon, the sleep-deprived, exhausted citizens are ready to revolt. Can the people help the King face his fears and see that you can’t appreciate the light without having the dark, too?
Like a well-worn, snuggly blanket, this sweet bedtime story about a little bear who’s afraid of the dark and his mother’s creative solution will warm and comfort readers big and small.
Frankie is a little bear who has a hard time falling asleep. The dark is scary, and he hates to be alone. So his mother gives him a ball of yarn to hold when he goes to bed, and she keeps the other end in the next room, working it into a surprise for Frankie.
Every few nights the yarn color changes, and Frankie dreams in all the colors that he and his mother pick out. One night he’s swimming in turquoise water, another night he’s in a cool gray fog. He plays with a marmalade kitten and eats delicious chocolate cake. Eventually Frankie and his mother create something special–and Frankie learns that he’s always connected to those he loves, even when he’s alone in the dark.
A beautiful story of love and crafting, A Bedtime Yarn will appeal to knitters, sleepy little bears and any parents dealing with their child’s fear of the dark.
The Going To Bed Book - Getting ready for sleep is tons of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic. The sun has set not long ago. Now everybody goes below to take a bath in one big tub with soap all over—SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB! This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.
Pajama Time! - Pajama Time! is a good-night book with the irrepressible language, the inimitable illustrations, the irresistible cast of characters only Sandra Boynton could create. A jump-roping chicken and a pig on a swing. A Scottie in plaid pajamas and an elephant in a fuzzy one-piece with feet. And in sing-along nuttiness reminiscent of Barnyard Dance!, it’s time to head to bed-to the beat: Pajammy to the left. Pajammy to the right. Jamma jamma jamma jamma P!J! Everybody’s wearing them for dancing tonight. Jamma jamma jamma jamma P!J!
Lion's Lullaby - With the help of hugs and lullabies, a young girl tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one, in this cuddly good-night read. Holly Clifton-Brown’s soft palette and adorable illustrations paired with Mij Kelly’s comforting rhyming text set the perfect tone for bedtime.
Tomorrow I'll Be Brave - Tomorrow I’ll be all the things I tried to be today- Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, &amp;amp; Brave. And if I wasn’t one of them, I know that it’s OK. Adventure through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities–all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.
Even dragons love a good story…
Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read…
When Leo’s mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword―and a pile of his favorite books.
But can a story be as mighty as a sword?
The #1 New York Times bestseller As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.
This is Russell. Sometimes Russell is just a little bit out of step with the rest of the flock. All the sheep are falling asleep – except Russell. What’s a sheep to do? Russell tries everything … until, at last, he falls asleep.
Richard hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? He doesn’t wait to find out and sets off running through the streets, over the hills, through the forest, and into the fields until he finds himself in a magical jungle. With the help of his stuffed lion Lionheart, Richard finds the courage he needs to face his fears.
Just when William is ready to fall asleep in his cozy cabin, there is a tap on his window. A chilly chipmunk asks to stay, and Will scooches over in bed. There’s room for two – I’m sure we’ll fit. The chipmunk is just the first in a parade of mammals, each bigger than the last, until the bed is full. Then a note is slipped beneath the door: Do you have room for just one more? William tugs the door to see who’s there . . . only to find a great big BEAR! Is there enough space to spare? Will the other animals be willing to share? Kids will delight at each new guest’s arrival and enjoy counting along as the animals keep scooching over to fit in William’s bed. Linda Ashman’s clever rhymes set up each page turn with suspense and humor, and the expressions on Chuck Groenink’s characters are perfect. This is must reading for the dark time of year when everyone wants to hibernate!
Winter Lullaby - Rendered with reassuring words and pastoral scenes, this soothing lullaby of a story is sure to settle even the most restless of cubs. Mouse is rushing to her nest.In soft, dry grasses she will rest. Geese are calling, a chilly wind is blowing, and the sky is turning gray. Winter is on its way. For Mama Bear and Small Bear, that means it’s time to tuck into their den for a long sleep. But Mouse is scurrying by, and Chipmunk is still gathering nuts beside the lake. And look at Hare and Skunk, still romping through the leaves! Why can’t Small Bear stay up, too? To each question, Mama Bear responds with the coziest of answers, finally painting a dreamy picture of the brightening colors and new adventures that will greet Small Bear in the spring. But first comes sleep, in this irresistible invitation to drowsy little cubs everywhere.
Unicorn Night - Hooray! Hooray! It’s Unicorn Night! Thelma the Unicorn meets Uni the Unicorn in this rainbow-packed book guaranteed for bedtime fun! This clever, colorful, and over-the-top picture book about unicorns and unique-corns is a MUST for all unicorn lovers!Unicorns love to prance and dance the day away. But it’s exhausting! Now it’s time for unicorns to brush their manes, fluff their pillows, and sing the unicorn lullaby in this companion to the best-selling Unicorn Day.Fuzzy jammies, flower beds, Sweet dreams swirling in our heads, Neigh, neigh, neigh, Played all day, Time to sleep the night away!The Perfect gift if you’re looking for: A fun-filled bedtime storyColorful, beautiful animal storiesChildren’s books about unicornsUnicorn gifts for little girls and boys
If I Had a Little Dream - “As a child dreams of all the things in her world that make her happy, she realizes how fortunate she is to live in the world she does”–
Just Because - Curious minds are rewarded with curious answers in a fantastical bedtime book by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault. Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” – and any parent who has attempted an explanation – will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”
Ideal for bed time reading, Dream Animals convinces children to close their eyes and discover who their dream animal might be—a fox? a bear? a narwhal?—and what dream it might take them to. With a perfect nighttime rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this book is irresistible.
I will love you till the cows come home from a trip to Mars through skies unknown in a rocket ship made of glass and stone. I will love you till the cows come home. Love knows no bounds in this lyrical, gentle lullaby, a tender tribute to the depths of family love. Filled with warm, funny art, I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home is a perfect read-aloud for curling up with your little one at the end of the day . . . or anytime you want to express just how much you love them.
Dream away, dream away, sleepyhead, love Set sail for the ocean of stars up above. You be the captain and I’ll be your mate. We’ll journey together, the heavens await. From author Julia Durango and new illustrator Robert Goldstrom, a story of the dreams that are possible as you drift to sleep. A father and son venture into a dream and encounter some new and familiar faces and along the way discover the possibilities the universe can hold. Accompanied by Robert Goldstrom’s sweeping paintings, Dream Away is the perfect combination of dreams and reality.
Kiss Dad once. Cuddle Mum twice. Goodnight, Mum and Dad. Goodnight, mice. Its time to say goodnight but the four cheeky mice skittering and scampering and scurrying to bed don’t seem very sleepy! This warm, affectionate story is the perfect bedtime book for the whole family to share.
A kitten doesn’t want to take a nap in this book about opposites by the author of Early Bird. It’s naptime, and Cat is ready for Kitten to settle down. But Kitten has other ideas!In this book filled with opposites (big and little, black and white, sleepy and awake) Toni Yuly proves once again -as she did with Early Bird and Night Owl - that simple concepts come alive for the youngest readers through bold art and charming language.
The Almost Impossible Thing - Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.–Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly–even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor–along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep - Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime–or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.
Steam Train, Dream Train - An unabridged board book version of the bestselling hardcover, perfect for small hands! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, and kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Dreamy illustrations and gentle rhyming text make this a beloved bedtime favorite for budding train enthusiasts everywhere.
Can't Sleep Without Sheep - Whenever Ava can’t sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it’s the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava’s fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.
Two brothers use their imaginations to turn their surroundings–from a white bandana and yellow coins to a red blanket and even their baby sister– into a colorful pirate adventure before naptime.
A flowing sail, a hot air balloon, a fluffy cloud, a glowing moon… with a little imagination, a blankie can be anything!
This sweet and playful board book will encourage little ones to think big as they head off into dreamland. On each page, a young child uses his cozy yellow blankie in a new way, taking him everywhere from under the sea to high among the stars. As bedtime nears, the blankie turns into a balloon, a cloud, and a shooting star, eventually placing him safely into bed where he can keep dreaming and snuggling, too.
Debut author Sheryl Haft and artist Jane Massey have crafted an adorable story around a universal bedtime theme. Featuring a soft padded cover, this is the perfect book to inspire sweet dreams.
Bedtime becomes a jungle safari until the Big Safari Ranger brings it to a halt.
At the end of the day, tired sheep return to their shed but none can sleep until the collie arrives, giving a hug, a drink of water, and more until all have begun to snore.
We all know the story of the Big Bad Wolf and the three little pigs … or do we? Meet the great-great-great-great-grandson of the original Big Bad Wolf, also hot on the trail of some little pigs. Is he also up to no goodor is he trying to make friends at last? A hilarious twist on the original Three Little Pigs story, with stunning illustrations from acclaimed artist Eva Montanari.
Leap, Frog, Leap! - Leap, frog, leap! Creep, caterpillar, creep! In this playful, rhyming story by award-winning author Douglas Florian, join these animals as they do what they do best! Watch a frog leap, a caterpillar creep, a rabbit race, a cheetah chase, a hen peck, a turtle trek, a sparrow sing, a monkey swing, a crab crawl, a crow call, a gull soar, a bear explore, a spider spin, a crocodile grin, and a chick peep! At the end, a child sleeps with all the animals surrounding him.
If My Love Were a Fire Truck - A father’s love for his son goes zoom, swoosh, vroom, boom! in this energetic, adventurous, action-packed board book tribute to fathers and sons. The bond between a father and his son is as powerful as a rocket ship blasting into space, a giant whale splashing across the ocean, and booming, colorful fireworks lighting up the night sky. Celebrating that one-of-a-kind relationship between Dad and his favorite little guy, If My Love Were a Fire Truck is a rhyming love song from fathers to sons that will become a cherished part of their lives for many years to come.
Bedtime for Monsters - Bedtime for Monsters is Ed Vere’s hilarious monsterish tale - with a big twist! What if a monster were looking for a bedtime snack? And what if that snack just happened to be you? GULP! He’s getting closer and closer . . . and his tummy is rumbling REALLY loudly. You’d be very scared! BUT all this monster actually wants is a lovely monster-sized goodnight kiss. Night, night!
Tiger Vs. Nightmare - Tiger is a very lucky kid: she has a monster living under her bed. Every night, Tiger and Monster play games until it’s time for lights out. Of course, Monster would never try to scare Tiger—that’s not what best friends do. But Monster needs to scare someone…it’s a monster, after all. So while Tiger sleeps, Monster scares all of her nightmares away. Thanks to her friend, Tiger has nothing but good dreams. But waiting in the darkness is a nightmare so big and mean that Monster can’t fight it alone. Only teamwork and a lot of bravery can chase this nightmare away. In this charming graphic novel for young readers, cartoonist Emily Tetri proves that unlikely best friends can be an unbeatable team, even agianst the scariest monsters.
2013 Randolph Caldecott Honor Award
In this magical bedtime story, the lyrical narrative echoes a Runaway Bunny – like cadence: “Does everything in the world go to sleep?” the little girl asks. In sincere and imaginative dialogue between a not-at-all sleepy child and understanding parents, the little girl decides “in a cocoon of sheets, a nest of blankets,” she is ready to sleep, warm and strong, just like a tiger. The Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski’s rich, luminous mixed-media paintings effervesce with odd, charming details that nonsleepy children could examine for hours. A rare gem.
Paint the sky with rainbows and make the stars shine with this novelty board book! Kids just pull the tabs to make colorful flowers bloom, help a ship sail the ocean, and light up an entire city. At the end, you can shut a boy’s eyes to put him to sleep at night . . . and wake him in the morning. It’s magical!
A board book for the most cuddly bedtime ever!
Tired little eyes, ready now for bed,
Tired little everything, precious sleepyhead.
By the end of a busy day, little knees are tired from crawling, little arms are tired from stretching—even little lips are tired from blowing kisses. But with the help of gentle verse, and art as sweet as a bedtime lullaby, tired little eyes will quickly give way to sleep.
Shhh . . .
Rhyming text explores what would happen if animals kissed like humans do, from a slow kiss between a sloth and her cub to a mud-happy kiss from a hippo calf to his father.
Bedtime story meets Coachella in this adorable book about a sloth who packs up his pajamas to attends an arena festival for nappers, dozers, and the very best sleepyheads. Snuggleford Cuddlebun is a champion sleeper. In fact, she’s such a good sleeper that she decides to go to Snoozefest, an arena festival that celebrates sleep. There, she lounges in her hammock while bands like the Nocturnal Nesters and the Quiet Quartet serenade the audience with lullabies. There’s warm milk and honey to be had, designer pajamas from Diane von Firstinbed, and no one dares be seen without a baby blanket. But before she knows it, the nuzzling, snuggling, and dreaming are over–and Snuggleford has slept through it all. This hilariously endearing bedtime story is perfect for anyone who loves sloths, music festivals, and/or cuddles.
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