9 Perfect Bedtime Story Books For Babies Of All Ages

I can honestly say that one of my favorite things about raising children is exploring books with them.

None more so than bedtime story books for babies when you’re having a cuddle and reading to your baby before they get put down for bed. 

And if you’re here… I bet you feel the same way too.

So, to ensure you and baby have the coziest nighttime reads to inspire and ignite their imaginations, here are my absolute favorite storybooks for baby’s bedtime:

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9 of The Best Bedtime Story Books For Babies

Over the last 40 years as a Norland Nanny, I have read countless bedtime story books to babies. The following list is my top picks that will make bedtime an enchanting experience for both you and your child. 

These books are perfect for creating a soothing nighttime routine that will nurture bonding and help to establish in your little one a lifelong love of literature… As well as experience all that books have to offer little minds and imaginations.

1. Peek-A-Boo! By Janet And Allan Ahlberg

One of my all-time favorites (and one my son loved to return to time and time again over the early years), Peek-A-Boo is a lovely interactive book that babies will love to peek through the holes in the sturdy pages to see a hint of what is coming next.

This book is described by Booklist as ‘Perfectly tuned for a first-book experience’ and seeing as I remember reading this book to my charges when I was a nanny… It has certainly stood the test of time.

(I will certainly be reading it to my grandchildren one day!)

My Favorite!
Peek-A-Boo! By Janet & Allan Ahlberg

This book takes your little one on a rhyming Peek-A-Boo journey, through the day in the life of a baby boy. With a series of holes peeping through to the next page, you get a glimpse of what is to come in the next stage of baby's day.

This book has become a classic for toddlers and parents. I love the wonderful illustrations that provide fun and promote investigation and your little one will love to join in with a joyful ‘peepo' at every turn of the page.

Pros:
  • Interactive and easy to use with little ones
  • Detailed illustrations with lots to talk about
  • Simple easy to understand language
  • A unique quality of never becoming boring for readers or listeners
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2. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell 

Owl Babies is another one of my all-time favorite bedtime books for babies and one that I came across later in life. 

Despite discovering it later in life, I think I’ve explored this book almost as much as any other!

A Close Second...
Owl Babies: Padded Board Book

Designed for babies closer to 1-year-old, Owl Babies helps young minds understand the concept of missing their caregiver - as the three baby owls wake one night to find their mother gone. But all’s well that ends well, when their mother finally returns to much celebration! This is a great book if your little one struggles with separation anxiety and loves beautiful illustrations.

Pros:
  • Explores the feeling of separation of anxiety simply and beautifully.
  • Stunning illustrations
  • Loved for years to come
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3. I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth

I Love You to the Moon and Back is a simple delightful bedtime storybook for babies and (once again) a favorite of mine! 

It’s a heartwarming bedtime storybook that will undoubtedly become a favorite in your baby’s collection.

My Number 3 Goes To...
I Love You to the Moon and Back

The illustrations in I Love You To The Moon And Back are beautiful and will work well in capturing the attention of your baby. The message of love and reassurance between a Parent Bear and their Baby Bear will resonate, making it a perfect story to share before bedtime.

Even when your little one is ready for more detailed language and longer storylines, this will remain a firm favorite that your baby will return to time and time again!

Pros:
  • Engaging illustrations
  • Sweet and loving message
  • Durable board book format
  • Relatively short so it's perfect for babies with shorter attention spans
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4. Sweet Dreams Little One by Sandra Magsamen

Snuggle up to say goodnight with this precious board book from the USA Today bestselling author of Welcome Little One!, Sandra Magsamen.

Based on the idea of a child dreaming of things they could do someday (sail a boat, climb a mountain) and grow up to be (an artist, scientist), Sweet Dreams Little One is a unique and lovely book that will become a bedtime staple for babies.

Sweet Dreams Little One: A Bedtime Lullaby and Goodnight Board Book

Sweet Dreams Little One is the ideal starter baby bedtime book. Perfect for little hands, this warm heartfelt baby board book is ideal for the very young as it creates a world of cuddles and dreams.

The delightful illustrations will capture the attention of young babies and the soothing rhyming language will certainly lull them to sleep!

Pros:
  • Sturdy board book ideal for little ones
  • Bright eye-catching illustrations
  • Soothing gentle rhyming language
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5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moon is a bedtime story classic and is a definite must-have in your baby’s book collection.

The calming illustrations and the quiet poetry of the words make this the perfect baby bedtime story book for ending the day.

Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd

This charming book, tells the story of a little bunny who says goodnight to all the familiar things around him one by one.

The subject matter, pace, rhythm and repetition of this book make it an ideal bedtime storybook for young toddlers. I love this story, I think it's a charming read for all children.

Pros:
  • Sturdy board book ideal for little hands
  • Simple relatable storyline
  • Clever use of illustrations as they alternate between colored and inked which darken towards the end and the final goodnight.
  • A true classic bedtime story book
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6. If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul 

If Animals Kissed Good Night is the perfect read-aloud and snuggle-up at-the-end-of-the-day book that I guarantee your little one will be requesting you to read it again night after night.

If Animals Kissed Good Night - A Bedtime Board Book

If Animals Kissed Goodnight, is an adorable book that cleverly looks at the concept of how animals would kiss their babies good night if they performed the ritual as we do.

With charmingly soothing illustrations and language, your baby will be captured by this lovely storybook that will have them primed for sleep!

Pros:
  • Unique but relatable concept
  • Playful language
  • Teaches baby about different animals all over the world
  • Delightful illustrations
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7. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton 

Is your baby getting to grips with a bedtime routine? Give this gem by Sandra Boynton a read!

The Going-To-Bed Book By Sandra Boynton

The Going To Bed Book takes us through the bedtime routine in a fun and relatable way for young children. The simple rhyming language will appeal to little minds and they will love the silly group of animals who have to go through the bedtime rituals just as they have done!

Pros:
  • Funny and joyful language and illustrations
  • Will encourage little ones to embrace the bedtime routine.
  • Ideal for slightly older babies as they will be able to relate to the characters!
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8. Read To Your Baby Every Night by Lucy Brownridge 

Slightly different from my other choices… Read To Your Baby Every Day is a collection of bedtime stories and rhymes for babies that will offer you plenty of choices to explore literature in an engaging and heartwarming way.

Read to Your Baby Every Day: 30 Classic Nursery Rhymes To Read Aloud (Stitched Storytime)

This beautiful traditional book will undoubtedly add a whole new aspect to your bedtime storytelling.

Lullabies and rhymes are a perfect way to soothe and comfort your little one before sleep, and this keepsake book with the familiar rhymes from our childhood and its lovely embroidered illustrations, offer tactile delight for your baby and will spark so much joy in them!

Pros:
  • Unique collection of familiar age-old rhymes in one volume
  • Tactile illustrations
  • A beautiful keepsake to hand down through the generations.
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9. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

The Wonderful Things You Will Be is a fantastic addition to any baby’s bedtime story collection, sparking their imagination and celebrating the amazing things they will grow to become. 

Perfect as a gift or an addition to your child’s library, this bedtime story book will be a favorite for a long time to come.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be
The Wonderful Things You Will Be is a beautifully illustrated bedtime storybook that delivers a powerful and empowering message.

Designed for slightly older babies, its charming illustrations and heartfelt words encourage children to dream big and embrace their potential.

The illustrations are not only beautiful but also engaging, so they will capture your little one's attention and imagination time and time again.

The unfolding pages add an extra touch of whimsy and while the book may be slightly advanced for the youngest babies, it is definitely a book that will grow with your baby, providing a foundation for their future reading and understanding.
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What To Look For When Buying Bedtime Story Books For Babies

When choosing the perfect bedtime story book for your baby, here are the top things you should look for and consider.

Personal Preferences

Bedtime stories not only soothe your little one and get them ready for sleep… but they will also inform, provoke conversation, and instill family principles and morals.

When choosing books for your baby think about personal family preferences as well as calming bedtime themes, or offer stories that reflect your family’s values and culture or any other important issues that may be going on in your baby’s life.

When my son was born, my in-laws in America sent lots of lovely books with Christian values in them that my husband and I read to our son from a very early age. These books helped to lay a foundation of morals and kindness that he still shows to this day.

By considering all of these factors, you can look forward to many hours of bonding bedtime reading with your baby that will lay the foundation of a daily routine that you will both come to cherish.

A Final Word On The Value Of Reading To Your Little One 

Science tells us that babies develop best and connect better with the people and the world around them when they are spoken to, sung to, and read to. 

Even when they are first born, the sound of their parent’s voices helps them make sense of the world and feel comfortable with new people and places. Therefore, reading to your little one can offer so much more than looking at pictures and speaking words.

It’s never too early to start reading to your baby!

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bedtime Story Books For Babies

Looking for more information about choosing the best bedtime story books for babies? Here are the most frequently asked questions about reading to little ones.

Q: How can I access free bedtime storybooks for babies?

A: Many free storybooks can be found online via websites like Story Berries or through your local library’s collection. A lot of second-hand shops and mother-baby groups offer free baby books too. Also, see if friends and family have any baby books lying around that you can borrow!

Q: Where can I buy baby books?

There are endless places to buy baby books. Amazon is the first place most people think of buying the best baby books… However, you can also pick up books at garage sales, libraries, charity shops, and online second-hand book shops such as Awesome Books and Better World Books too.

Q: What are the best bedtime story books for babies?

A: In my opinion, the best bedtime story books for babies are:

  1. Peek-A-Boo! By Janet & Allan Ahlberg
  2. Owl Babies By Martin Waddell
  3. I Love You to the Moon and Back By Amelia Hepworth
My All-Time Favorite
A Close Second...
My Number 3...
5.0
5.0
5.0
Pros:
  • Interactive and easy to use with little ones
  • Detailed illustrations with lots to talk about
  • Simple easy to understand language
  • A unique quality of never becoming boring for readers or listeners
Pros:
  • Explores the feeling of separation of anxiety simply and beautifully.
  • Stunning illustrations
  • Loved for years to come
Pros:
  • Engaging illustrations
  • Sweet and loving message
  • Durable board book format
  • Relatively short so it's perfect for babies with shorter attention spans
My All-Time Favorite
5.0
Pros:
  • Interactive and easy to use with little ones
  • Detailed illustrations with lots to talk about
  • Simple easy to understand language
  • A unique quality of never becoming boring for readers or listeners
A Close Second...
5.0
Pros:
  • Explores the feeling of separation of anxiety simply and beautifully.
  • Stunning illustrations
  • Loved for years to come
My Number 3...
5.0
Pros:
  • Engaging illustrations
  • Sweet and loving message
  • Durable board book format
  • Relatively short so it's perfect for babies with shorter attention spans

Q: At what age is it appropriate to begin reading bedtime stories to my child?

A: It is never too early to start reading to your baby! You can start as early as newborns, as this can be a special bonding time, and it also helps establish a bedtime routine. But if you haven’t, the best age to begin reading bedtime stories is right now.

Q: Which bedtime story is considered the classic among children’s books?

A: There are many classic bedtime storybooks but a long-standing favorite is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown which has been enjoyed by generations of children. But my personal favourite classic? Peek-A-Boo! By Janet And Allan Ahlberg.

Q: When should I start reading my baby’s bedtime story?

A: You should read the bedtime story at the end of the bedtime routine just before you settle them down to sleep. Reading will help relax and settle your little one ready for sleep and become a strong sleep association as your baby grows up.

Q: Is reading a book at bedtime good for babies?

A: Absolutely! Reading bedtime stories will enhance language skills, support cognitive development, and foster a strong emotional bond between you and your baby.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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