20 best short bedtime stories for kids

Snuggle up and enjoy one of these short bed time stories for kids - kids storybooks they will love to read again and again

Few feelings are more magical than snuggling up with your child and reading a bedtime story to them before they drift off into the land of nod. 

And there are so many lovely story books to choose.

From much loved classics to magical kids’ books hot off the press – we’ve put together a list of the very best bedtime stories for kids.

So grab a copy, snuggle up under the covers with your little ones, and enjoy.


Within this list we have included links to the books that we recommend, some of which are affiliate links. If you click them to make a purchase, Mas & Pas will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. It also means that a big thank you is in order for supporting us!



If animals kissed goodnight – Ann Whitford Paul

A little girl wonders how animals say goodnight. 

Would Wolf and his pup “kiss and then HOWL”? 

Would Bear and her cub “kiss and then GROWL”? 

But what about Sloth and her baby? They move soooo slooowwwww . . . they’re sure to be kissing from early evening until long after everyone else is fast asleep! 

Lovely illustrations and rhymes make this the perfect read-aloud bedtime story.



Llama llama Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney

Llama has trouble getting to sleep and gets into a bit of a tizz. 

He does everything he can to keep Mama by his bedside. Mum calms him down by reassuring him and saying

Little Llama, don’t you know, Mama Llama loves you so? Mama Llama’s always near, even if she’s not right here.

Eventually he is ready to snuggle up and fall asleep. A perfect bedtime book for any little ones struggling to fall asleep on their own.



Guess how much I love you – Sam McBratney

Little Nutbrown Hare shows his Daddy how much he loves him. But Big Nutbrown Hare matches him every time with a little bit more love. 

Ending up with loving his little hare not just to the moon but to the moon and back.

A wonderful celebration of love between parent and child and a firm favourite bedtime book that has quickly become a classic.



Goodnight, goodnight, construction site – Sherri Duskey Rinker

The perfect bedtime book for little truck and digger lovers. 

Fabulous rhymes and illustrations. Every little kid will want to drift off just like all their favourite diggers and machines do.

They too will want to rest and be ready for their next big day ahead.



The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

A modern classic and a bedtime book that should be on every family’s bookshelf. 

The big brave mouse walks through a wood where he meets a bigger or scarier animal that might eat him.

He scares each one of them off with the tale that he is having lunch with the terrifying Gruffalo – whose favourite food is made up of all the woodland friends who are trying to scare the mouse. 

Then the Gruffalo and wants to eat the mouse. But, don’t worry. The mouse wins out in the end.

A much loved children’s book that will stand the test of time.



The Pajama Zoo Parade: The funniest  Bedtime ABC Book – Agnes Green 

This is a wonderful bedtime romp through all the alphabet of animals getting ready for bed. 

The animals at the zoo are all getting ready for bedtime and putting on their pajamas. 

Lovely rhymes, all playing with letters of the alphabet keep your little one entertained. 

Beautifully detailed illustrations mean that your little one can look at and spy those quirky little details that they love so much.



The Wonderful Things You Will Be – Emily Winfield Martin

Brave and bold, clever and creative…this is a story about all the wonderful things your child will be. 

It focuses on celebrating individual strengths, making it a powerful and positive bedtime read.



Just go to bed – (Little Critter) – Mercer Mayer

Little Critter is NOT looking forward to going to bed. He pretends to be different people who have to carry out important tasks to put off heading to sleep. 

This charming and funny book, tells a story that both kids and parents will relate to at bedtime.



Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars – Meg Cadts

Oliver the bear and Hope the Butterfly are camping for the first time. They spend the night playing silly games to make the shadows less scary. 

They let their imaginations run free to make their night under the stars a magical adventure. 

A great short bedtime story for kids.

And to make it even better, every sale supports families of children with a critical medical condition. Each book sold contributes to UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation medical grant.



Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? – Martin Waddell

Little Bear is struggling to sleep because he is scared of the dark. 

Big Bear does all he can to make him feel safe. After trying everything he shows him how the moon and stars light up the night. 

Beautiful illustrations and repeated sentences that little ones will come to know as you read this bedtime book again and again. A beautiful read.



Night night Jungle – Amy Parker

All around the jungle, animals say night night and get ready to sleep. 

From sleepy sloths to tired toucans all the animals are ready for bed. 

Wonderful rhymes and charming illustrations in this jungle themed bedtime book.



Close Your Eyes – Kate Banks

Little Tiger is worries about what will happen if he falls asleep. But Mummy reassures him that he will dream of magical places and, when he wakes, she will be right here, waiting for him. 

With beautiful illustrations this is a comforting and charming bedtime read.



Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep -Dunbar and Gliori

Little Bunny Willa can’t sleep but her big brother Willoughby tells her about all the happy things she can look forward to once the sun comes up. 

From cosy slippers to a yummy breakfast – the best thing of all is that when she opens her eyes Willoughby will be right there by her side as always. 

A lovely hug of a bedtime read.



Night night Forest Friends – Annie Bach

As night falls all the animals in the forest are getting ready to tuck their little ones into bed. 

Papa rabbit tucks his babies in among the leaves, fuzzy bears settle in their den, and little foxes snuggle together under the moonlight.

A soothing and adorable bedtime story.



Little Owl’s Night – Divya Srinivasan

Little Owl wakes up from his daytime sleep and watches his friends enjoy the evening.   

Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. 

He wonders if the daytime can be as magical. 

Just as Mama Owl begins to tell him about the wonders of the day he falls asleep. 

A perfect bedtime story for any child worrying about the dark, to show him that night and day are both full of magic.



Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late – Mo Willems

Pigeon is now a much loved children’s book character.

In this picture book he makes up excuses not to go to bed. It’s a fun and laugh out loud bedtime read.



Bear Snores On – Karma Wilson

Bear is snoozing as he hibernates. One by one the woodland creatures crawl into his den to warm up. 

Find out what happens when Bear wakes up and find all his friends having a party without him.

A wonderful and classic bedtime story



Owl Babies – Martin Waddell

‘I want my Mummy’, cries one little baby owl when they wake to find Mama has gone. The other little owls comfort her. 

A gentle bedtime story with charming illustrations and a much-loved classic.



Dream Animals – A Bedtime Journey – Emily Winfield Martin

A sure fire hit for sleepy tots. Mama asks her little ones to close their eyes and imagine what their dream animal will be. A fox? A bear? A narwhal? 

What adventures will their dream animal lead them to? Rhymes and stunning illustrations make this a wonderful bedtime book.



Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

We can’t end this list of bedtime stories without the classic and much-loved book to be found on many a child’s bookshelf. 

Loved by generations, this is the perfect bedtime read. ‘Goodnight room, goodnight moon’.

A lovely way to get your little one ready to go to sleep.

Charming, comforting, whimsical and wonderful bedtime books to enjoy with your little ones!

Pick one and enjoy the bedtime cuddles.

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