Of course, one of the most well known books about sleep is Goodnight Moon. I just reviewed that recently, so I won't repeat it. You can read our review of it here.
One of our favorite sleep books is Sandra Boynton's Going to Bed Book. Maybe it's because I spent many an hour rocking our little man to sleep, but I like the sleepy end of the book, as well as the amusing lead-up to it:
The Going-To-Bed Book (Board book), by Sandra Boynton. I'm a Boynton fan, although the little one's reception can be spotty at times, depending on the book. This is one he really enjoys, and without any gimmicks or things he particularly likes pointing out (hats, trees, birds, etc.). The plot revolves around a hodge podge group of animals on a boat getting ready to sleep.
"The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep."
Another recent favorite around here is a musical Sesame Street book:
Musical Lullaby Treasury Elmo Recov (CTW Sesame Street Good-Night Stories) (Board book), by Brooke Zimmerman. I admit I was very frightened when I saw "musical lullaby" and "Elmo" on this book. But, the music is not Elmo singing, but a beepy version of Brahm's Lullaby. The book is fairly large, with a nicely padded cover, and a collection of short stories starring Sesame Street characters and the concepts of sleep, dreaming, and lullabies. The stories contain lullabies within them that can be sung to the tune of Brahm's Lullaby. My (Mom's) favorite story is the one where Grover goes on a rescue mission (dressed in appropriate protective gear) to get his teddy bear out from under his bed. I also like the alien/gibberish lullaby in Ernie's story. There is quite a bit of text per page, so not the one or two sentences per page in early board books. Our little reader couldn't operate the little push button at first, but it didn't take all that long for him to figure it out (he got it for Christmas and was pushing it like a champ by the end of January - 14 months old).
"Elmo wondered if all his friends knew about this kind of song. Elmo threw back the covers, tumbled out of bed, and darted out the door. He couldn't wait to share his lullaby!"
Infant's Interest: At 14 months, he hunts and signs for the frequently appearing birds.
Parent's Peeve: Why oh why does Elmo have to talk in the third person? Mommy no like that.
He also really enjoys Goodnight, Boston:
Good Night Boston (Good Night Our World series) (Board book), by Adam Gamble. A cute little bedtime book that bids good morning, afternoon, and night to various Boston landmarks. This makes a fun gift for pregnant Bostonians or Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics fans. Our son has pretty consistently enjoyed this one, including now (14 months). It's one that he tends to pick off the shelf and make us read 4 or 5 times in a row.
"Good afternoon, statue of 'Make Way for Ducklings.'/Good afternoon, Swan Boat."
All Asleep (Board book), by Joanna Walsh. A cute little book about sleeping babies. Unfortunately, it hasn't really grabbed the bookworm's attention, despite his love of babies.
"Babies asleep in cribs, in bibs. Babies in cradles able to rock. Babies on kitchen tables. Babies in one sock."
Good Night, Gorilla (Hardcover), by Peggy Rathmann. A charming tale about a zookeeper locking up a zoo for the night, or so he thinks, as a naughty gorilla follows him to let out the animals as he bids them goodnight. They precede to parade behind him, and some even crawl into bed with him and his wife. The book is scant on text, and the illustrations - the look of surprise on the wife's face, the sneaking step of the gorilla - will have you giggling.
"Good night, Hyena. Good night, Giraffe.
Bookworm's interest at 14 months: In less than a week, this became a favorite. He particularly likes pointing out the globe in the elephant's cage (because he have a stuffed Hug-a-Plant globe), the balloon floating in the air, and the mouse tugging a banana along.
Parent's Peeve: I can't seem to find the full version on amazon, and I think the board book lacks some of the text.
I wish I could say that he reads these books and then curls up happily in bed and falls asleep on his own. On the other hand, I can't help but feel a slight swell of pride as he grabs another book, shoves it into our hands, turns the first page, and sits up straight with rapt attention. If it's a scam to get out of sleeping, consider me scammed.