Any story can be a bedtime story, but for a well-written tale that can soothe your child before sending her off into dreamland, here are five of the best:
"Goodnight Moon," Margaret Wise Brown
Tucking children in since 1947, Brown's simple rhyme can become a bedtime routine. The inventory of objects in a little bunny's room, followed by wishing "goodnight" to each one, can settle young minds, preparing them for sleep. Clement Hurd's illustrations show us a cozy room, perfect for bedtime.
"Guess How Much I Love You," Sam McBratney
In this playful tale, Big Nutbrown Hare and his bouncy charge, Little Nutbrown Hare, play a reassuring bedtime game. The younger hare declares his love for the elder in expansive amounts, only to be topped by the elder's love for him. Send your child to sleep knowing that he is just as cared for.
"Time for Bed," Mem Fox
Share special moments between baby animals and their parents, as all prepare for slumber. The gentle, lullaby-like rhythm of Fox's text ("It's time to sleep, little deer, little deer, the very last kiss is almost here,") is complemented by Jane Dyer's beautiful watercolor illustrations.
"Song of Night," Katherine Riley Nakamura
Lyrical text and Linnea Riley's whimsical illustrations show animals preparing for bed. The words are soothing and the pictures will make you smile, showing such charming scenes as mice making a mess with toothpaste and floss.
"How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?," Jane Yolen
This silly tale will have you sharing a good laugh with your child. In Mark Teague's hilarious illustrations, dinosaurs demonstrate the worst of bedtime behavior, exasperating their human parents. Don't worry, though -- these dinosaurs know what they're supposed to do: "They give a big kiss. They turn out the light. They tuck in their tails. They whisper, 'Good night!'"