This essay uses performance theory to intervene in a decades-long debate about a characteristic of children's literature: it is the only major category of literature written by one group (adults) for another (children). According to a contested but tenacious school of thought, this difference between writers and readers embeds top-down power, or adult domination of children, in children's literature. I identify a popular subcategory of children's literature, the “going-to-bed book” (exemplified by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's Goodnight Moon), which appears to epitomize and therefore shore up this top-down model. I then read going-to-bed books through function—that is, the ritualistic actions or performances that these books prompt, or script, among child and adult readers. This mode of analysis initially produces seemingly powerful evidence in support of the top-down model of children's literature; but that evidence, as I show by examining two recent best sellers, ultimately unravels.