25 bedtime story books for children of all ages

When it comes to winding down and tucking in, discover these bedtime story books to help little ones drift off to dreamland.

Bedtime is a cherished ritual for both parents and children, a time when the world slows down, and imaginations come alive. As little ones nestle under their cozy blankets, there's no better way to end the day than with a captivating bedtime story. 

With countless options to choose from, finding the perfect bedtime story book can be a delightful adventure in itself. That's why we've curated a list of the best bedtime books for kids, each one a treasure trove of imagination and warmth.

Bedtime books for children aged 0 - 3 years

It's Time to Sleep, My Love

by Nancy Tillman

Bestselling artist Nancy Tillman provides stunning illustrations and soft verse that celebrates the wonders of the natural world, and the bonds of family. As children prepare for bed, the world around them is also settling down for the night. Animals – who live in the jungle, the forest, the sea – all whisper to their babies a soft refrain: "It's time to sleep, my love." Read with little ones to wind down for bedtime. 

Peace at Last

by Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy's bestselling classic Peace at Last has delighted young children for almost forty years, and is equally beloved by tired parents who are all too familiar with the plight of poor Mr Bear. Full of beautiful illustrations accompanying a gentle story based on repetition, this book is perfect for soothing any child off to sleep.

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Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown

Chosen as one of BookTrust's and Supernanny Jo Frost's Best Bedtime Reads for Newborns, this gentle bedtime story has lulled generations of children to sleep. Margaret Wise Brown's comforting, rhythmical text accompanied by the warmth of Clement Hurd's classic mid-century illustrations make Goodnight Moon a timeless picture book.

Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals

by Lucy Rowland

Put the farm animals to bed in Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals. Llittle readers can help the sleepy baby animals settle down by turning the shaped 'blanket' pages and tucking them into bed. Created in partnership with The Sleep Charity – the experts in good sleep and effective bedtime routines – this book is complete with tips to help with a calm, stress-free bedtime and a good night's sleep.

I'm Not Sleepy

by Marion Cocklico

In I'm Not Sleepy, watch little Ned and his mummy go through their bedtime routine even though Ned is "not a bit sleepy". Designed to help children learn a bedtime routine and get to sleep independently, each page of this book comes with a helpful tip for parents and carers on encouraging toddlers to get to sleep.

Five More Minutes

by Marta Altés

This relatable bedtime story from bestselling author-illustrator Marta Altes is as enjoyable a read for parents as it is for the little ones. A little fox gives his time-starved dad some sage advice about what 'time' really means, and how to make the most of it, from bath time to baking time to 'dad' time. This is a wise and witty story, full of honest vignettes of family life.

Say Goodnight to the Sleepy Animals

by Ian Whybrow

This simple rhyming story is a fun and interactive read for bedtime. It's night-time and Cat is going to say goodnight to all her animal friends. Meet a dog, a barn owl and even some fluffy little rabbits. Encourage your little one to join in with the animal noises!

Bedtime Rhymes

by Ashley Selby

Watch the cow jump over the moon, rock the baby's cradle and gaze at all the twinkly stars in the night sky before bed in Bedtime Rhymes, complete with bright, bold illiustrations. Toddlers will love using the chunky push, pull and slide mechanisms to bring these classic playtime rhymes to life. 

WOW! It's Night-time

by Tim Hopgood

When it's time for us to go to bed, owls are just waking up and one curious little owl is ready to discover the wonders of night-time. But where are all the other owls? A perfect preschool introduction to the nocturnal world with something to count on every page.

A Nursery Rhyme for Every Night of the Year

by Allie Esiri

Allie Esiri’s beautiful gift anthology, A Nursery Rhyme for Every Night of the Year, is a definitive collection of nursery rhymes, with enchanting illustrations by Emily Faccini. The book includes 366 rhymes – traditional classics as well as favourite rhymes of today – each accompanied by an enlightening introduction. Perfect for reading aloud and sharing with children of all ages.

Time for Bed, Panda

by Jo Lodge

In Time for Bed, Panda, children will learn first words about their bedtime routine. Bold, googly eyes and a sliding mechanism bring this adorable panda to life, while children share the simple story and point at the pictures. An ideal book for babies, this title combines bright illustrations, a simple story and first words – a perfect introduction to bedtime routines.

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Bedtime books for children aged 3 - 5 years

Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep

by Catherine Rayner

This beautifully illustrated bedtime story from Catherine Rayner has a gentle mindfulness message which is especially helpful for little ones who have trouble going to sleep. Arlo the lion is exhausted, but he just can’t fall asleep, no matter what he tries. But then he meets Owl, who can sleep all through the day. Can she teach Arlo some special tricks?

I Am Oliver the Otter

by Pam Ayres

Come on down to the riverbank, and discover a wild and wonderful world in bestselling poet Pam Ayres's heart-warming rhyming story. Oliver the otter is happy enough living alone, swimming or scampering along the twisty-rooted waterways. Until one day, among the green rushes, he meets an otter called Ottilie – and his life changes forever. This charming tale brings the natural world to enchanting life. 

The Bowerbird

by Julia Donaldson

The Bowerbird is the irresistible tale of Bert - a small bird with a very big heart. Bert the bowerbird is looking for love and is hoping his bower will help him to meet the bird of his dreams. But when Nanette comes along, she is far from impressed. Poor Bert is hurt, and flies off to bring her presents a-plenty. But will it ever be enough, and is Nanette really right for Bert?

Bill and the Dream Angel

by Lucinda Riley

Bill and the Dream Angel, created by bestselling author Lucinda Riley and her son Harry Whittaker, is a reassuring story about moving house and overcoming fears. Bill has just moved house and he misses his old, familiar home. But luckily, Bill has someone watching over him. Will Destiny, the Dream Angel, be able to show Bill that sometimes, the things we don't understand at first turn out to be the most magical discoveries of all?

Luna and the Sky Dragon

by Bethan Woollvin

Luna loves the sky and finding out about all the wonders she can see above her. But the villagers can't stop worrying about the mythical Sky Dragon – a fearsome creature who is said to dwell in the sky. Can Luna share her love of the sky and show the villagers that the Sky Dragon is nothing to be afraid of? This is the perfect bedtime book for little stargazers. 

The Bedtime Bear

by Ian Whybrow

We all know a little one who simply can't go to sleep without their favourite teddy bear. This fun bedtime adventure sees Bear journey back to his friend Tom in time for bedtime. With a flap to lift on every page, children will love joining in the fun as they help Bear find his way home to Tom in time for bed. 

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou!

by Julia Donaldson

A little ghost tries to give Lydia Lou a scare . . .  but he can't even wake her up. So he fetches his noisy animal friends to help! A gentle and playful bedtime read from Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo. Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! is full of fun sounds that children will love to join in with time and time again.

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The Midnight Library

by Kazuno Kohara

When we are fast asleep in bed, the Midnight Library springs to life. The little librarian and her three assistant owls help each and every night-time animal to find the perfect book. But with a noisy squirrel band, an upset wolf and a slow-reading tortoise to help, they could all be in for a very busy night. A beautiful, big-hearted book about the joy of reading and the importance of libraries.

Bedtime books for children aged 5 - 9 years

Flying Rabbits, Singing Squirrels and Other Bedtime Stories

by Axel Scheffler

Molly loves to listen to her dad's bedtime stories. Once upon a time, he says, everyone was green, squirrels sang in choirs, tiny people lived in Aunt Elsie's pot plant and of course, rabbits could fly . . . Molly thinks her dad's just being silly as usual, but no-one's bedtime stories are as good as his. So cuddle up on the sofa and pick one of these fourteen fantastically funny stories to read together before bed.

Bedtime Stories For 5 Year Olds

by Helen Paiba

Bedtime Stories for 5 Year Olds is a rich and varied selection of heart-warming stories, perfect for snuggling up with at bedtime, by some of the very best writers for children. With stories from Berlie Doherty, Dick King-Smith, Joan G. Robinson, Adele Geras, and many more this collection is great for reading alone or reading aloud – and for dipping into time and time again.

A Poem for Every Night of the Year

by Allie Esiri

A Poem For Every Night of the Year is a magnificent collection of 366 poems compiled by Allie Esiri, one to share for every night of the year. The poems – together with introductory paragraphs – have a link to the date on which they appear. Perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, it contains a full spectrum of poetry from familiar favourites to exciting contemporary voices. 

Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

by Hilary McKay

Featuring Hilary McKay's imaginative retellings of key favourites, this ten-story collection includes the much-loved tales of Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Swan Brothers, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Red Riding Hood, The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Hansel and Gretel. Complete with black-and-white line and tone illustrations throughout, this is a collection not to be missed.