If you have a toddler (or two), then you know the struggle of finding books to read at bedtime that both interest them and don’t drive you crazy to read over and over and over and over.
Young kids can also, quite literally, love books to pieces. If your child hasn’t yet gained enough self control to graduate from sturdy board books, then this is the list for you.
Our family loves books, and we are always on the lookout for the most engaging ones. Here are 13 of the best bedtime stories for children available as board books that you can add to your nighttime routine!
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Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed became a favorite book early on for my kids. Toddlers love repetition (in case you hadn’t noticed 🙂 ). Add in some hand motions while you’re reading and your children might just take over telling the story themselves after a bit! Here’s how we do it:
- Hold up on your fingers the number of monkeys that are jumping, and bounce your hand up and down for “X little monkeys jumping on the bed”
- Tap your hand to your head a few times for “bumped his/her head”
- Pretend to hold a phone to your ear for “Mama called the doctor”
- Shake your index finger back and forth for “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”
Bonus points for this one because it’s super easy to recite from memory when you have the need.
The Goodnight Train
This is absolutely one of my favorite books to read to my kids! The rhythm of the lines in the book mimic The Goodnight Train‘s motions.
Though my toddlers aren’t in love with trains like some, they do enjoy making the train sounds with me every few pages, keeping them involved in the story.
Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star
Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star is so fun for kids because you can sing it to them! We only recently got this book and it has become a FAST favorite.
It’s actually the full version of the song, so it’s a nice length book – not too long and not super short. To be honest, before we got this, I didn’t even realize there were more verses to it than the ones everyone knows! If you’re in the same boat as me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the rest of the song really is.
Bonus points for kids who like cats – the illustrations of Pete and his family are very cute.
You’re My Little Bunny
You’re My Little Bunny is another great story that you can actively involve your toddler in as you read.
Follow little bunny through his whole day and join along in his activities (shout “boo!” at a cow, hop along with friends, lay down for a nap). Bunny has a very full day before his mama puts him back to bed at night.
Time for Bed
Time for Bed is a beautifully illustrated book that flows well and rhymes.
Help your child learn what each baby animal is called as you say goodnight to them. Each 2-page illustration has both a baby animal and it’s parent in it, along with a short verse. At 28 pages, it’s a perfect length for toddlers.
Sheep Go to Sleep
Sheep Go to Sleep is absolutely adorable!
In this story, a collie has to help 5 sheep fall asleep. Each one wants something different to go to bed. It has a good amount of repetition to keep little kids engaged, with great rhythm and rhyming as well.
Llama Llama Nighty-Night
Llama Llama Nighty-Night has become the last book we read every night. Follow along with little llama’s bedtime routine in very simple steps that toddlers can understand.
This is another book that won’t take long for you to memorize, so you can easily recite it in the dark to wind down your own bedtime routine.
Goodnight, Good Dog
If you’re not crazy about rhyming and prefer more of a toddler-friendly short-story, then Goodnight, Good Dog is the book for you. Your children will especially enjoy it if they love dogs.
This is a story that follows a dog who isn’t ready for bed, even after everyone else in the house has gone to sleep. It is told very simply from the dog’s point of view.
This is another one of my personal favorites, but I will definitely warn you to read it through a couple times before debuting it to your toddler. The flow takes a little bit to figure out, but I promise that once you find it, it’s a very cute story.
I Love You, Stinky Face
I Love You, Stinky Face is another book that is more like a children’s short story. As mom is putting her son to bed, he asks her if she would still love him if he turned into different creatures. The transformations are imaginative, and the mom has a reassuring response for each one.
The illustrations are very detailed and the book is a silly, lighthearted bedtime read.
Pajama Time! is a simple read with great rhythm! I’m not good with coming up with tunes on my own, but this book would be a great one to do it with, if you have that talent.
It’s basically all about pajamas, but does a great job using descriptive words for each different set to expose your toddler to a wider vocabulary. The illustrations are fun, and the story is simple and short enough that you could easily memorize it.
Clifford’s Bedtime / Clifford y la hora de dormir
Clifford y la hora de dormir is a great little bilingual book starring baby Clifford! Clifford’s mom helps him get ready for bed, and each step is in both English and Spanish.
This board book is a small one that is very easy for little kids to hold. It is on the shorter side (7 pages) but is easily one of my daughter’s favorites.
Sleepy Toes is the new favorite bedtime book for my kids – they will pick it up and “read” it together most nights. It has both repetition and rhyme to keep toddlers interested.
My favorite thing about it though, is that it is great for helping to teach body parts. The story goes through different body parts, talking about how much work they’ve done all day and how they are sleepy and ready to rest now.
The illustrations are adorable, with a different child plus their pet (or stuffed animal) for each body part.
Goodnight, I Love You
Good Night, I Love You is an adorable book about 2 toddlers going through their bedtime routine. It is a simple rhyming story that is 20 pages long.
My absolute favorite thing about this one is that it contains one boy and one girl child that appear to be roughly the same age, so it works great as a boy/girl twin book! The kids in it are never directly referred to or labeled as twins, though, so it is left open-ended and a cute story that any toddler would enjoy.
There is always a new story to try, or an old one to be rediscovered.
Which fantastic bedtime books for toddlers have I missed?
Tell me in the comments which books you love that NEED to be on this list!