A great way to settle a child down for the night is with a bedtime story. Usually filled with soft, sweet imagery and prose, bedtime books for preschoolers can help them relax and unwind while helping them prepare for the night ahead. These books, which are a mix of classic tales and new favorites, work great within a bedtime routine, before a nap or even just when you are looking to snuggle up close with your little one.
Let's be honest. Most nights, your preschooler doesn't want to go to bed, no matter how tired she might be. That's the thought behind How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague -- a fun story about some dinosaurs who really would prefer not to settle down between the covers. Eventually though, like all small people, our reptilian friends do as they are asked and get ready to go to sleep. A humorous look at bedtime, complete with the names and pronounciations of all the dinosaurs shown in the book.
2. Time for Bed
It's the gorgeous artwork in Time for Bed by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jane Dyer that will make this book a bedtime favorite for your preschooler. As each young animal is tenderly tucked in by its mother, you can't help but feel overcome with warmth and love. A wonderful read on a cold night while you sit snug and warm under blankets, your preschooler will enjoy seeing how animals are tucked in. And the final page -- a sweet toddler going to sleep -- with (hopefully) encourage your little one to do the same.
Never turn your back on the gorilla at the zoo. That's the underlying message in the silly Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. When the tired night guard does his rounds, he doesn't count on the gorilla stealing the keys and letting all the other animals out. Hilarity ensues when they follow the poor zookeeper home and steal into his bed, squeezing in tight for a cuddle. With simple text and laugh-out-loud illustrations, your little one is sure to love this story (and you will too). Also great for reviewing animals and their sounds, Good Night, Gorilla is a book that is a great read anytime.
4. Bedtime Bugs
Bedtime routines aren't just for human children. Bugs have them as well. In Bedtime Bugs: A Pop-up Good Night Book by David A. Carter, we get a sneak peek at what bugs do before turning in for the night, and surprisingly enough, they are a lot like us. This charming book is completely interactive -- each page offers up something different for your little one to do, whether they are making the bugs jump up and down on the bed or oohing at a glowing star. A good addition to your bookshelf.
Can you have a list of bedtime books without this classic? One of the most popular bedtime books of all time, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd has been read by families for generations. Not so much a story, but just a repetitive list of things in a room that the narrator says good night to, the cadence is soothing and comfortingly predictable. If this story becomes a favorite, your preschooler is likely to read along with you while identifying all the objects named.
Some of the friendliest, most colorful animals around can be found in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? a classic tale written over 40 years ago. Penned by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, the rhythmic words and beautiful art come together in not only a sweet story to read at bedtime, but one that helps your little one learn animals, colors and work on their memory as well.