We love reading at any time of the day, but sharing a few stories before bed is a sacred part of our evening routine. Even when E is in meltdown mode I try to make it through at least one book with him. I gravitate towards bedtime-themed books at bedtime, possibly because I'm hoping the power of suggestion works with 10-month-olds and also because they do tend to be a lot more soothing, which is exactly what we need at that point in our day.
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton: A passel of Boynton's signature animals (who inexplicably live on a ship) go through their bedtime routine, which includes brushing their teeth, putting on pajamas and exercising. For awhile E was obsessed with pointing out the porthole that appears in several spreads.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: A classic, for sure. Saying goodnight to the people and things around the house is supposed to ease separation anxiety for little ones at bedtime, which is perhaps one reason why this book has remained so popular. This is another book where E is fascinated by the illustrations; he likes to point out the small details, like the kittens playing on the rug.
Time for Bed by Mem Fox: I wasn't familiar with this book when a friend gifted it to me at my baby shower, but it didn't take me long to fall for the gorgeous illustrations of baby animals cuddled up to their mamas and a simple rhyme that lets little ones know bedtime is here.
You are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love: Not a bedtime book, perse, but one that celebrates the bond between parent and child and therefore perfect for enjoying at the end of a long day. Charming illustrations of a baby bear and a daddy bear and couplets that show what the two mean to each other ("I am your dandelion; you are my first wish."). This one does skew a bit more to the sacchrine side but I love it all the same.
A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na: A watchful owl observes how different animals sleep (with one eye open, both eyes open, huddled close together, etc.), until the sun comes up and he himself catches a few winks. The text is great but the illustrations are even better.