Let’s face it: if you’ve read Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd, dozens (or hundreds) of times, it starts to lull even the most enthusiastic reader to sleep. After all, this board book has soothed sleepy children for over 75 years!
Why is this book timeless? And more importantly, what comes next when you cannot stay awake for another reading of Goodnight Moon?
As a parent, I read Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny (also by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd) hundreds of times to my children. We read these books so often, I can still recite them by heart.
Why do these books continue to delight children? And what comes next when you cannot read the same book again?
What Makes Goodnight Moon Timeless?
So much has been written about Goodnight Moon. It has been reviewed, studied, dissected, and copied. What I’ve noticed as a parent, is several elements contribute to its lasting appeal.
- First, it focuses on simple routines. Goodnight Moon emphasizes the importance of simple bedtime routines. Routines are reassuring for children. Whether your routine involves cookies and milk, a lullaby, or saying goodnight to your surroundings, routines provide a sense of stability. Goodnight Moon demonstrates how simple, effective, and important it is to have a routine.
- Next, it is fun to read aloud! The rhythm, rhyme, and repetition rock you to sleep. It is a book that the reader is almost forced to sing in order to keep the pace. This book creates an opportunity to engage the reader and the listener in a melodic duet.
Goodnight Moon Read Alikes That Focus on Simple Routines
Let’s start with some books modeled on Goodnight Moon. Some of these books mimic the patterns of the original. Others are similar only in name. All of them offer an alternative read aloud.
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody written and illustrated by Michael Rex
This book is exactly what you expect, a hilarious twist on the classic. For the youngest readers, it is available as a board book.
Goodnight Love: A Bedtime Meditation Story written by Sumi Loundon Kim, illustrated by Laura Watkins
This is a guided, mindful meditation that will help little ones feel safe and relaxed as they ready for sleep.
Goodnight, Little Dancer written by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alea Marley
Little dancers of all kinds will love the ritual of saying goodnight to their prized possessions as they drift into dreams of moonbeams.
Goodnight World written by Willa Perlman, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher
Your nature-loving little one will enjoy saying goodnight to the planets and stars and a variety of ecosystems. They are sure to be lulled to sleep as the “goodnights” get closer to home and include “goodnight family.”
Goodnight Racism written by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc
An important book that focuses on an evening routine of saying goodnight to injustice, inequality, hate, hurt, and finally racism. This book serves as a reminder that sweet dreams are for everyone.
Books With Rhythm, Rhyme, and Repetition To Rock You To Sleep
If you and your listener enjoy the verbal rhythm of Goodnight Moon, try out some of these books that have a similar appeal:
Bear Can’t Sleep written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
Like all the Bear series books by Wilson, this picture book is a treat to read aloud. It reads like a song. Bonus points because it tells the story of Bear tossing and turning at bedtime. No spoilers here, but it has a perfect ending!
Forty Winks: A Bedtime Adventure written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Lita Judge
“It’s time for bed!” the Wink parents said…and so begins the story of the 38 Wink children as they sip and slurp and brush and floss. The ultimate challenge? Getting all of the mice children to stay in bed! This is a rhyming, rollicking read that ultimately may exhaust the reader and the listener at just the right time!
Dream My Child written by r.h. Si, illustrated by Janie SeckThe gentle verse makes a soothing bedtime story. The dreamlike quality of the illustrations will carry the reader into a peaceful sleep. There is a nod to Margaret Wise Brown when the narrator says, “Goodnight stars, Goodnight, moon.”
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
If board books are your preferred format, don’t miss this one. The rhyming, rolling, tooting train ride ends with the “tired-tired choo-choo” snuggling into bed.
Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells
The sweet, simple verse with only a few words per page makes a quick read. The bedtime routine is simple and reassuring as a lullaby.
There is no replacement for the classic, timeless Goodnight Moon. But there are always alternatives that will engage the reader and lull the listener to sleep. Ahhh…Sleep tight.