To celebrate, some book lovers have made what they think is the definitive list of best bedtime books.

The bed and mattress store Happy Beds collated 26 different online lists of ‘best bedtime books’ and similar, from a range of different sources – from national newspapers to parenting sites, forums and popular bloggers – in order to see which bedtime book was the most popular.

In all, 587 titles were suggested and 399 different books were added to the list. But there was one clear winner: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

The 1947 children’s picture book which was illustrated by Clement Hurd and published by Two Hoots, a subsidiary of Pan Macmillan, features a rabbit saying “goodnight” to everything around it – from the pictures on the wall, to the mice which live under the clock and, finally, to “noises…everywhere” .  With 16 different votes, it comfortably beat the next closest competitor, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

A spokesperson for Two Hoots said:

“Two Hoots, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Books, and the publisher of Goodnight Moon are delighted that this classic book, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, remains the favourite bedtime book for children.

“Over 70 years old, the magical artwork and that hypnotically soothing text still lull children across the world to sleep to this day. We couldn’t be more proud to be the UK home of this sleepy classic.”

What makes a great bedtime book

The researchers made a number of interesting findings:

  • There were 321 different authors in the list overall, 50% of whom female, 46% were men and 4% were mixed couples.
  • More than half (58%)of all books in the list featured animals. 26 books had ‘bear in the title, 22 were about ‘sleep’ and 21 had featured someone saying “goodnight” in the title.
  • The author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, was the most-featured author, with 15 different books in the list, while her long-time illustrative collaborator Axel Scheffler was also featured 15 different times.
  • Harper Collins was the top publisher, with 10 different children’s books featured in the top 50.

The list also showed that people have a thirst for new bedtime books – 221 of the books in the list were published since 2000. However, although many books were published in the 21st century, just two of the top ten (such as Goodnight Moon were written since the year 2000.

Joy Richards, Sleep Specialist at Happy Beds, said:

“For years, psychologists and parents have sworn by a good book at the end of a busy day to help children’s development and guide them serenely to the land of nod.

“Our research shows that there’s a huge market still for newer books – just over a third of those on our list have been published in the last 10 years.

“However, when it comes to favourites, it seems we still adore the old slumbersome classics – the most popular books like Goodnight Moon and Where The Wild Things Are are old enough to have been passed down through generations and have truly passed the test of time.”








Margaret Wise Brown

Clement Hurd

Goodnight Moon

Pan Macmillan



Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are

Harper Collins



Julia Donaldson

Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalo

Macmillan Children’s Books



Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton

The Going to Bed Book

Simon & Schuster



Sam McBratney

Anita Jeram

Guess How Much I Love You

Walker Books



Eric Carle

Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Hamish Hamilton



Mem Fox

Jane Dyer

Time For Bed

Houghton Mifflin



J.K. Rowling

Thomas Taylor

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone




Karma Wilson

Jane Chapman

Bear Snores On

Simon & Schuster



Sherri Duskey Rinker

Tom Lichtenheld

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Chronicle Books