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Baby & Toddler


10 Books to Turn to When You Just Can’t Read Goodnight Moon Again

by Jennifer Ridgway

If you’ve read Goodnight Moon to your little one enough times to know what comes after “Goodnight clocks” (yes, it’s socks) and can picture the cow jumping over the moon in your mind right this very minute, it may be time to make some new additions to your stack of bedtime reading books. Here are some great alternatives to Goodnight Moon to try out with your kiddos tonight. (Don’t worry, the comb, and the brush, and the bowl full of mush will still be waiting for you, right where you left them.)

  • Ages 0 - 2

  • Big Red Barn

    by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Felicia Bond

    If you want more from Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, Big Red Barn is the book for you! Sharing a similar rhythm to Goodnight Moon, Brown takes us on a tour of a barn with its various animals and features. As the sun begins to set, the animals begin to go to sleep until only the mice are left to play.

  • Global Baby Bedtimes

    by Maya Ajmera

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    This simple book shows the universality of sleep with pictures of sleeping, yawning, and napping babies from different countries who are all dressed in traditional clothing from their cultures. Perfect for infants, who are attracted to other human faces, and with limited text that can easily be read as a lullaby.

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  • Little Owl’s Night

    by Divya Srinivasan

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    One of my family’s longtime and enduring favorites, this whimsical book follows Little Owl as he flies around the forest and sees the other animals. It doesn’t rhyme, but the book’s cadence makes it a great read-aloud, and the illustrations are bold yet not too stimulating for bedtime. Srinivasan introduces readers to different animals and new words — there is no baby talk here. And while the idea of a book about a nocturnal creature might seem like a bad choice for bedtime, rest assured that Little Owl does eventually go to sleep to the sounds of his mother’s gentle voice. You can also check out Little Owl’s new book Little Owl’s Day for more adventures.

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  • Pajama Time!

    by Sandra Boynton

    If you’re looking for a book by another classic children’s author, Boynton is not to be missed. She writes in silly rhymes, draws fun animal characters, and seems to know exactly how to catch children’s attention. As the moon rises, the animals in this story celebrate bedtime, a.k.a. pajama time. Reading Pajama Time! together will help make bedtime something your kids will look forward to and, as with some of Boynton’s other books, the book can also be turned into a fun song.

  • Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead

    by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Jane Dyer

    Krauss’s classic tale has a structure that’s very similar to Goodnight Moon. As a child says goodnight to familiar objects, the story’s repetition, rhythm, and rhyme lull little readers to sleep. Dyer’s watercolor illustrations are gentle and have a sweet old-fashioned aesthetic. You can also use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about various parts of the body by asking them to point to their toes and fingers as they read.

  • The House in the Night

    by Susan Marie Swanson, Illustrated by Beth Krommes

    There is a bit of the feel of Goodnight Moon in this tale, but rather than touring a bedroom, this book slowly leads readers towards a house that glows with light. The simple yet poetic text makes for a calming read-aloud and, using scratchboard and highlights of gold, Krommes’s magnificent illustrations really make this book stand apart.

  • Ages 2 - 5

  • Goodnight, Numbers

    by Danica McKellar, illustrated by Alicia Padrón

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    This picture book from math whiz (and “Doogie Howser, M.D.” alum) Danica McKellar features children saying goodnight to everyday things such as utensils, body parts, and toys as they go through their bedtime routines. Each page highlights a different number, one through ten. And the book helps with math literacy in different ways, including getting children used to hearing numbers in order, guessing the next number, and finding all the things on the page that come in the specific number.

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  • I Just Want to Say Good Night

    by Rachel Isadora

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    The sun may have set over Lala’s African village, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to go to bed! In this picture book by Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Isadora, readers follow young Lala as she says goodnight to the animals in her village. Many readers will recognize Lala’s stalling tactics despite her parents’ warnings of bedtime. The stunning oil painting illustrations bring Lala’s village to life and, as an added bonus, Goodnight Moon even makes a cameo at the end of the book!

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  • Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?

    by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade

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    From the same duo that brought us Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? (a book that was on repeat for quite a while in our house!) and Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night?, comes a new book about the bedtime rituals of planes. Sayres’s text always has an imaginative way of combining machines with familiar bedtime rituals. Slade’s illustrations of the anthropomorphized planes — including jet planes, helicopters, and Air Force One — are fun and whimsical.

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  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

    by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

    This book became our household’s favorite for months. And months. Rinker’s gentle rhyming text leads readers around a construction site as all its trucks wind down from a hard day’s work and go to sleep. Lichtenheld’s illustrations give the trucks sleepy faces, blankets, and teddy bears. This has quickly become a modern classic. For fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, I’d also recommend Steam Train, Dream Train, Rinker and Lichtenheld’s follow up about the various cars of a train.

Is Goodnight Moon a favorite in your house? What other books have been on repeat at bedtime?