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Bedtime and Animals: Books For Kids

Bedtime is a special time and one that we often spend reading with our children. Any book is fun to read before bed, but there is a great list of books that have been made especially to soothe and calm our children before they go to sleep. We hope you find your new favorite as you scan the list below!

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The Going-To-Bed Book
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
Lots of bedtime stories are kind of slow and sweet. This one is lots of fun. The rhymes are great as it goes through a (semi) normal bedtime routine, with a little bit of wit and humor. We like reading this before bedtime.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

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Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly & illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I absolutely love the illustrations in this sweet bedtime book! It's filled with the cutest animals and has a lovely rhyme and flow. There's not a huge story line to this one, but it's fun to go through all the animals and ask who puts them to bed. :)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

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.

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Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

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All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon & illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

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If Animals Kissed Good Night
Written by Ann Whitford Paul & illustrated by David Walker
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep book
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Rock-a-Bye Farm book
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Everyone Sleeps book
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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star book
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  • Sleep, Baby, Sleep - Mom of Boys -

    When you think of bedtime books you may think of lullabies and bedtime routines, but this book is different. It begins with sleep, baby, sleep, but goes through a whole series of hopes the parents have for the child: rising, soaring, laughing, climbing, growing and so much more. It is a wonderful book.

  • Rock-a-Bye Farm - B is for Bookworm -

    This sweet, rhyming bedtime book is perfect for animal lovers. The farmer helps all of his animals get to sleep before going to bed himself. The illustrations are sweet and perfect for bedtime.

  • Everyone Sleeps - “A wide-awake dog looks for a friend in a nighttime world full of sleeping animals”—

  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - In this tenderly illustrated edition of the classic rhyme, award-winning artist Sylvia Long touches the hearts of readers yet again. Her detailed watercolors depict a group of animal friends as they make their way home under the night sky to complete their bedtime rituals.

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Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night
Written by Dee Leone & illustrated by Bali Engel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Shh - listen. Can you hear the quiet, loving sounds of the nighttime world? From moths fluttering their powdery wings, to a nightingale’s sweet trills, to swaying willow trees softly shushing, shushing everyone to sleep, this rhythmic, rhyming lullaby will soothe and calm little ones.

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I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed
Written & illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Whether they spot themselves in Charlie or Lola, young ones will enjoy this exuberant, hilarious spin on a bedtime story.” — BOOKLIST

Night owl Lola likes to stay up coloring and scribbling and wriggling and bouncing and chattering. Lola never gets tired. How can big brother Charlie convince her it’s time for bed? Heralded by the WASHINGTON POST as “a delightful new voice in children’s books,” author-illustrator Lauren Child splashes her offbeat sense of humor and unique artwork all over this bedtime story. Laugh out loud at Lola’s imaginative antics, but save a cheer for kind, patient Charlie, the big brother we’d all love to have.

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Olive the Sheep Can't Sleep
Written by Clementina Almeida & illustrated by Ana Camilla Silva
picture book
Recommend Ages: 32-3

Adorable Olive had a long day and is tired. She settles in for a good night’s sleep, but it isn’t easy. Using techniques based in neuroscience to help children relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep, author and child psychologist Clementina Almeida presents a charming bedtime story teaching parents techniques to help their child turn off . Why is it sometimes so hard for little ones to fall asleep? “Because,” says Almeida, “the world never ceases to surprise them, . . . their mind cannot ‘disconnect.’”

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Twilight Chant
Written by Holly Thompson & illustrated by Jen Betton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

As day slips softly into night, sharp eyes catch glimpses of the special creatures who are active at dusk. Lyrical text and lush art capture the richness and life of this magical time in a sumptuous picture book that will inspire budding naturalists and anyone who has ever chased a lightning bug at twilight. An author’s note about twilight is included.

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When Your Monkeys Won't Go to Bed
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

When your monkeys won’t go to bed, you’ll have to use lots of tricks to make them sleepy! This charming and hilarious board book highlights the many ways to tire out two wide-awake monkeys!

Do your monkeys go wild at bedtime?

When your monkeys won’t go to bed, you’ll have to be smart. After you race them upstairs and trick them into the tub, it’s time to convince them to get into bed. Let them pick out a good book—or five—and snuggle in close. But be careful…or you just might fall asleep, too!

Sleepyhead book
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Once Upon a Zzzz book
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Cow Can't Sleep book
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The Big Book of Bedtime Stories book
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  • Sleepyhead - A first book for bedtime to share with your little one! Children can look, point, touch, count, and say goodnight to all their animal friends! This sturdy board book is perfect for teaching little ones about different facial features. Children can point to the lion’s sleepy eyes, and then identify their own eyes. Plus, the peekaboo mirror at the end will delight and surprise!

  • Once Upon a Zzzz - Once upon a time, an author took a snooze and an illustrator took the reins telling the story—exactly the way she wants! Featuring a llama princess, a scheming penguin, space travel, and maybe even a ninja—or, wait, a dragon!—this rambunctious, clever, no-holds-barred meta-story will have young readers giggling from start to finish.

  • Cow Can't Sleep - Belle can’t sleep. The hay is too scratchy. So she tiptoes around the farm to find the perfect place to sleep. But what if the best sleeping spots are already taken? Belle causes an uproar on the farm…until finally she finds the perfect place to sleep! Good night! Bright, hilarious digital artwork gives just the right touch to this silly bedtime story.

  • The Big Book of Bedtime Stories - This delightful treasury of stories features charming characters and beautiful illustrations - each with a hidden message. The Big Book of Bedtime Stories introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and includes eight stories to choose from. Each story is perfect for reading together and is just the right length for bedtime. All the other dragons laugh at The Littlest Dragon because he can’t breathe fire. But when winter comes all the other dragons catch colds. Will the Littlest Dragon be able to breathe fire after all? When William’s baby brother arrives, his Mom and Dad are too busy to read him a bedtime story, so William sets off to find a new home in There’s No Place Like Home. Superchimp is the mighty hero of the jungle. But when Superchimp hears a booming sound, it stops him in his tracks…. Just who is this brave chimp is so frightened of? In Kindness is Magic Wolf finds poor Little Owl has fallen from her tree. He decides to help her learn to fly. Can wolf hide his frustration and will Little Owl ever make it home? Archie’s big brother Oliver has returned from a party with a party gift bag. Archie begins collecting a bag of treasures all of his own. When a magpie steals Archie’s Bag of Treasures, who will help him get it back? Max and Bear are best friends. Every evening Bear tells Max the best bedtime stories. One day Bear gets tangled up in a kite and flies far away from home. How will Bear find his way home to tell Max his bedtime story? All the animals are frightened of Snip Snap Croc. She could gobble them up in one bite. But who do these eggs belong to? The animals are about to learn that even Snip Snap Croc has a softer side. A child describes her pet chameleon and its funny color changing habit. She loves her pet, but her mom is less convinced because it keeps getting lost! Can they find a way to stop losing the chameleon in My Colorful Chameleon?

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Everybunny Dream!
Written & illustrated by Ellie Sandall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s time for bed! Bunnies and foxes cozy up after a busy day in this fun, colorful picture book that is perfect for bedtime from the author of Everybunny Count! and Everybunny Dance!

Cuddle up And snuggle tight, And close your eyes, And say goodnight.

It’s time for the bunnies to brush their teeth, clean their paws, and comb their tail. And before they fall asleep, they’ll have time to curl up for one last hug, and one last story shared with some unexpected friends. Everybunny is welcome to join in this bright and cheery bedtime tale before dozing off into sweet dreams.

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Pajama Time!
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

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!

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Sunrise, Moonrise
Written & illustrated by Betsy Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Day turns into night and some animals drift to sleep while others spring to life in this beautiful high-contrast board book.

Sun rises. Bird sings.

And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.

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Harry and Horsie
Written by Katie Van Camp & illustrated by Lincoln Agnew
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a boy named Harry sneaks out of bed one night with his best friend, Horsie, to play with his Super Duper Bubble Blooper — an out-of-this-world adventure begins! Illustrated with retro-comic art, this is a charming story about the power of friendship and imagination from a talented new team.

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You Belong Here
Written & illustrated by M. H. Clark
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“The stars belong in the deep night sky, and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by, and I belong here with you. So begins this classic bedtime book, richly illustrated by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. The pages journey around the world, observing plants and animals everywhere, and reminding children that they are right where they belong. A beautiful title for new babies, adoptive families, and children of all ages. —————- You are a dream that the world once dreamt, And now you are part of its song. That’s why you are here, in the place where you’re meant, For this is right where you belong.”

Dream Animals book
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Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
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  • Dream Animals - 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.

  • 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.

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