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Reveal the Internet’s Favourite Bedtime Book for World Book Day

Reveal the Internet’s Favourite Bedtime Book for World Book Day

Like a good film, meal or mattress, a brilliant bedtime book is a very personal thing.

Whether you’re a Mum or Dad that reads every night to your small children, or a grownup who still fondly recalls the books their parents shared with them, there’s no denying the power of a bedtime book.

So, to mark World Book Day 2020, we’re launching a campaign to celebrate bedtime books – those beautiful, slumbersome tomes that help us (and our little ones) journey serenely to the land of nod. We conducted a huge piece of research to find out once and for all, which was the ultimate bedtime book.


Read more World Book Day content:




How We Found the Best Bedtime Book

We collated 26 online lists of ‘Best Bedtime Books’ from national newspapers (The Guardian, The Telegraph), parenting sites and forums (, Mother and Baby, Reddit), book specialists (Book Trust, Love Reading 4 Kids) and parenting bloggers (The Ordinary Lovely, Susan K Mann).


We took every book that featured in those lists and added them to one all-singing, all-dancing resource. There were 587 titles suggested, 399 of which were unique – while 321 different authors were mentioned on the list.

As we wanted to find the best singular book, any suggestion that was considered a ‘series’ was omitted from the list. So, for instance, some lists included The Harry Potter series which we had to remove. But (spoiler) fear not Hogwarts fans, Harry, Hermione and the gang still made an appearance…


A Few Statistics

Before we get to our glorious winner, we’re going to share a few stats:

  • Of the 321 different authors, 50% were female, 46% were men and 4% were mixed couples.

Author Pie Chart

  • More than half (58%) of all books in the list featured animals. Furthermore, 18 of the top 20 had animals in.

Featured Animals Pie Chart

  • 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.

Most Featured Author And Illustrator

  • 26 books had ‘bear' in the title. 22 featured ‘sleep’ in the title and 21 said 'goodnight'.

Book Title Word Numbers

221 of the books in the list were published since 2000, 127 between 1950-2000 and 49 before 1950. This graph shows when the many books in our list were published.

Published Books Graph

Surprisingly, while the majority of books in the list were published in the 21st century, just two of the top ten were published since the turn of the millennium – proving that a true bedtime favourite can take decades to tuck itself into the national psyche.


And the Winner is…

Pregnant Woman

“In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of the cow, jumping over the moon….”

With 16 unique inclusions – 6 more than its next closest competitor – the clear winner was Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

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, is officially the internet’s favourite book. In Goodnight Moon, a rabbit is found 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” .

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

You can watch it here, narrated by Susan Sarandon.

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.”


The top ten

Top Ten Books

Other notable entries in the top 10 were Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar, Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Rank Author Gender Illustrator Book Title Publisher Year
1 Margaret Wise Brown Female Clement Hurd Goodnight Moon Harper Collins 1947
2 Maurice Sendak Male Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are Harper Collins 1963
3 Julia Donaldson Female Axel Scheffler The Gruffalo Macmillan 1999
4 Sam McBratney Male Anita Jeram Guess How Much I Love You Walker Books 1994
5 Sandra Boynton Female Sandra Boynton The Going to Bed Book Simon & Schuster 1982
6 Eric Carle Male Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar Hamish Hamilton 1969
7 J.K. Rowling Female Thomas Taylor Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Bloomsbury 1997
8 Karma Wilson Female Jane Chapman Bear Snores On Simon & Schuster 2001
9 Sherri Duskey Rinker Female Tom Lichtenheld Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Chronicle Books 2011
10 Mem Fox Female Jane Dyer Time For Bed Houghton Mifflin 1993

You can see the full list here.

What’s your favourite book? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, or take a look at the favourites of Happy Beds’ celeb friends, here.

Happy reading!

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