86+ Brilliant Books About Birthdays

Hoping to find a perfect birthday book for your little one's special day?

Just like Lemony Snicket, we say, “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” This sage advice extends to everything we do, including birthdays! The party doesn’t start until the books arrive. If you’re looking to add a bookish element to your birthday⁠—a decision we couldn’t agree with more⁠—we’ve got the perfect suggestions.

Growing up, birthdays were always a very well celebrated event in our home. We looked forward to them for quite some time before the big day. We anticipated choosing our birthday breakfast, what kind of party and activities we wanted to do throughout the day, and we always knew there would be a special treat (birthday cake!) of our choice.

Children’s literature does a great job of showcasing some wonderful birthday parties. From Dr. Seuss’s well known “Happy Birthday to You!” to “A Birthday for Cow,” to “If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon,” the selection of books is out of this world. Children’s literature does so much for kids, and teaching them of their importance is no exception!

Whether you are looking for board books for your little one’s very first birthday, or your growing toddler on their second birthday, you are sure to find one that is personalized to their individual interests. If your child has a birthday during the school year, sometimes their kindergarten class will invite you to bring something in to share with classmates. This list of books is sure to give you some great ideas. We have also included picture books for their third birthday up to six years old. You can be sure that even when their birthdays mean they are growing up a little too much for your liking, we will still have books for them. For your middle school age kids, you can find chapter books with stories about birthdays that will be loads of fun for them . . . and you can feel good about being able to continue making them feel celebrated!

We’d love to hear which books are your favorites or which you’d add to the list.

Top 10 Books About Birthdays

Bernice Gets Carried Away book
#1
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written and illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Happy Birthday, Cupcake! book
#2
Happy Birthday, Cupcake!
Written and illustrated by Terry Border
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

From the creator of Peanut Butter & Cupcake comes a birthday book starring everyone’s favorite dessert!

What’s a cupcake to do when she needs to plan her birthday party? In this hilarious, kid-friendly homage to food and birthdays, Cupcake runs through tons of ideas while her best friend, Blueberry Muffin, finds reasons why they won’t work: Soup gets seasick; Donut melts in the sun; someome might get squashed during musical chairs; and Cupcake is not very good at limbo (her icing might get sliced off!). Just as Cupcake is ready to crumble, Blueberry Muffin has one last idea that just might save the day.

With laugh-out-loud visual gags (like a band made up of beans–the musical fruit, of course), this book is sure to put a birthday smile on any kid’s face (and on adult faces as well).

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon book
#3
If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon
Written by Joyce Lapin and illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Blast off to an extraterrestrial birthday celebration where young partygoers get to romp in a low-gravity playground; discover that candles and balloons behave weirdly in the lunar atmosphere; and learn why the “moon angels” they make in the dust will last for millennia. This cool picture book combines fun and facts to explain the science behind each surprise in terms children can easily grasp.

The Best Birthday Present Ever book
#4
The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party book
#5
If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party
Written and illustrated by Jill Esbaum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

You never know what will happen when a “T. Rex” crashes your birthday party. Sure, you’ll be super excited when he turns up. But then he ll stomp. He ll ROAR. He ll wonder how you taste with a little mustard. In the end, though, you may find yourself asking him to come back next year! This delightfully whimsical picture book has a fun twist kids will love.”

The Night Before My Birthday book
#6
The Night Before My Birthday
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a cute spin on The Night Before Christmas story. It has great rhyming and is a fun one for birthday time!

In rhyming text based on “The Night Before Christmas,” a child is filled with excitement and anticipation while helping with preparations for the next day’s birthday party, and even an ice cream emergency cannot spoil the day.

Duck and Goose, a Gift for Goose book
#7
Duck and Goose, a Gift for Goose
Written and illustrated by Tad Hills
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Duck and Goose, the stars of #1 “New York Times”-bestselling Hills’ beloved picture book series, return in an all-new, easy-to-read book. Duck has a very nice gift for Goose, and the perfect box to put it in…maybe too perfect! Full color.

Happy Birthday book
#8
Happy Birthday
Written and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Balloons, treats, and gifts: someone must be having a happy birthday in this fun board book! Something exciting is happening here Adorable animals are baking a BIG cake, decorating the room, and wrapping presents. Plus, Jack Rabbit’s practicing his magic and the monkey band is getting into the swing of things. What could it be? It’s a surprise birthday party! Kids will happily join the festivities in this vibrantly illustrated, delightful story.

Happy Birthday, Little Pookie book
#9
Happy Birthday, Little Pookie
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This fun birthday book perfectly captures the excitement of a child on their birthday—waking up early, getting surprises, and having fun activities!

Wake up and celebrate Little Pookie’s big day in this way-too-early board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Is that you, little Pookie? It’s not even light. You ought to be sleeping. Look outside. It’s still night. But it’s my birthday! Birthday! Birthday! Pookie can’t wait to celebrate! There’s only one problem: It’s still nighttime and everyone is asleep. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this surprising (yawn) story proves that every Little Pookie loves birthdays…even before daybreak!

If You Give a Pig a Party book
#10
If You Give a Pig a Party
Written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

If you give a pig a party,she’s going to ask for someballoons. When you give her the balloons, she’ll want to decorate the house. When she’s finished, she’ll put on her favorite dress. Then she’ll call all her friends — Mouse, Moose, and more. The little pig from If You Give a Pig a Pancake is back, and this time she wants to throw a great big party! Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created another winning story for this beloved character in the tradition of the best-selling If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

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Jump to books about Birthdays and...

Books About Birthdays and Parties

The Best Birthday Present Ever book
#1
The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party book
#2
If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party
Written and illustrated by Jill Esbaum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

You never know what will happen when a “T. Rex” crashes your birthday party. Sure, you’ll be super excited when he turns up. But then he ll stomp. He ll ROAR. He ll wonder how you taste with a little mustard. In the end, though, you may find yourself asking him to come back next year! This delightfully whimsical picture book has a fun twist kids will love.”

If You Give a Pig a Party book
#3
If You Give a Pig a Party
Written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

If you give a pig a party,she’s going to ask for someballoons. When you give her the balloons, she’ll want to decorate the house. When she’s finished, she’ll put on her favorite dress. Then she’ll call all her friends — Mouse, Moose, and more. The little pig from If You Give a Pig a Pancake is back, and this time she wants to throw a great big party! Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created another winning story for this beloved character in the tradition of the best-selling If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Nate the Great and the Missing Birthday Snake - “Join the world’s greatest detective, Nate the Great, as he solves the mystery of his friend’s missing pet snake! Perfect for beginning readers and the Common Core, this long-running chapter book series will encourage children to problem-solve with Nate, using logical thinking to solve mysteries! WILL THIS CASE SLITHER AWAY? Rosamond is having a birthday party for her cousin Lizzy! Nate the Great and his dog, Sludge, are invited. So are Lizzy’s four pet snakes. Nate believes that a good detective knows his limits. Nate does not want to go to a birthday party filled with dangerous, slimy guests. But when one of these “guests” goes missing, Nate and Sludge must face their fears to save the day! “

  2. If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon - Blast off to an extraterrestrial birthday celebration where young partygoers get to romp in a low-gravity playground; discover that candles and balloons behave weirdly in the lunar atmosphere; and learn why the “moon angels” they make in the dust will last for millennia. This cool picture book combines fun and facts to explain the science behind each surprise in terms children can easily grasp.

  3. The Night Before My Birthday - Mom of Boys - This is a cute spin on The Night Before Christmas story. It has great rhyming and is a fun one for birthday time!

  4. The Mouse House - Excitedly attending her friend’s birthday party, Sophie becomes jealous when her friend receives a mouse house, a gift Sophie has always wanted.

Want to see 17 more children's books about birthdays and parties?

How about children's books about parties?

Books About Birthdays and Animals

Happy Birthday book
#1
Happy Birthday
Written and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Balloons, treats, and gifts: someone must be having a happy birthday in this fun board book! Something exciting is happening here Adorable animals are baking a BIG cake, decorating the room, and wrapping presents. Plus, Jack Rabbit’s practicing his magic and the monkey band is getting into the swing of things. What could it be? It’s a surprise birthday party! Kids will happily join the festivities in this vibrantly illustrated, delightful story.

Happy Birthday, Little Pookie book
#2
Happy Birthday, Little Pookie
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This fun birthday book perfectly captures the excitement of a child on their birthday—waking up early, getting surprises, and having fun activities!

Wake up and celebrate Little Pookie’s big day in this way-too-early board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Is that you, little Pookie? It’s not even light. You ought to be sleeping. Look outside. It’s still night. But it’s my birthday! Birthday! Birthday! Pookie can’t wait to celebrate! There’s only one problem: It’s still nighttime and everyone is asleep. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this surprising (yawn) story proves that every Little Pookie loves birthdays…even before daybreak!

Carl's Birthday book
#3
Carl's Birthday
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Day
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Happy birthday, Carl! But can Mom surprise him? No way. As hard as Mom tries, Madeleine and her canine babysitter extraordinaire are hot on her trail, tasting the party punch, peeking at presents, and adding some of their own favorite decorations.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A birthday for Bear - “The winning stars of A Visitor for Bear make a return engagement.” — School Library Journal Bear does not like birthdays. He doesn’t like parties or balloons, cards or candles. In fact, Bear does not like anything to do with birthdays at all. He would much rather spend his birthday alone cleaning his house, but Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, has other ideas. With a perfectly paced story by Bonny Becker paired with Kady MacDonald Denton’s slapstick visual comedy, A Birthday for Bear welcomes young listeners to the party with artwork ideal for sharing.

  2. Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune - A delightful debut about two sisters with big dreams provides a charming introduction to the doljabi, a Korean first birthday tradition. Twig’s first birthday is coming up, and her whole family — especially her older sister, Hazel — is eager to see what she will choose at her doljabi. Whatever item Twig chooses will tell her fortune: Will she pick a hammer and grow up to be a builder? Will she pick a lute and grow up to be a musician? Hazel is hoping that Twig will choose the yarn, just like she did when she was Twig’s age. When the big day arrives and Twig makes an unexpected choice, will Hazel be able to help figure out what the future might hold for her little sister? Sweet, serious Hazel and the adorable Twig are certain to win the hearts of readers, who will long to enter their cozy woodland world.

  3. Froggy’s Birthday Wish - It’s Froggy’s birthday, but it seems that everyone has forgotten… No one seems to remember that it’s Froggy’s special day. Mom and Dad don’t say a word, and all of his friends are busy elsewhere. Until he gets back home to find everyone waiting to surprise him with a party, complete with a piñata filled with chocolate-covered flies!

  4. The Night Library - The Polar Express meets The Night at the Museum in this fantastical picture-book adventure about the magic of books and libraries, perfect for book lovers of all ages! After a young boy goes to sleep upset that he’s getting a book for his birthday, he’s visited in the night by Patience and Fortitude, the two stone lions who guard the New York Public Library. Soon, he’s magically whisked away from his cozy home in the Bronx, and the two mighty lions show him the wonder of the library. There, the inquisitive Latino boy discovers the power of books and their role not only in his own life, but also in the lives of the people he loves. Raul Colon’s gorgeous, rich art creates an immersive world in this book about books, which is sure to capture the imaginations of kids and adults and inspire them to grab their library cards and dive into the worlds of stories.

Want to see more children's books about animals?

Books About Birthdays and Kindness

Bernice Gets Carried Away book
#1
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written and illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Cavekid Birthday book
#2
Cavekid Birthday
Written by Cathy Breisacher and illustrated by Roland Garrigue
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Caveboy and Cavegirl are best friends. They even share a birthday. Each wants to get the other something special for the big day so they go shopping at Caveman Collectibles for just the right thing. But neither has money enough to buy a present for the other. So Cavegirl trades her beloved tool collecti on for a box to give to Caveboy to store his rock collection. Likewise, Caveboy trades in his cherished rocks for a box to give to Cavegirl for her tools.

Katie's Lucky Birthday book
#3
Katie's Lucky Birthday
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie looks forward to celebrating her birthday at school, and then finds a way to make it even more special when her friend Pedro mentions that he has a summer birthday.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Two Speckled Eggs - Reluctantly inviting the class misfit to her birthday party, Ginger bonds with Lyla when the latter arrives early, supports her party choices and gives her a unique gift, an encounter that compels Ginger to reconsider earlier notions.

  2. The Giant Hug - How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course! Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

  3. Warren & Dragon Volcano Deluxe - In this third chapter book about Warren and his alter-ego Dragon, an important lesson is learned in generosity . . . and exploding volcanoes! Warren has been invited to a birthday party by one of his new classmates, so it’s birthday present shopping time! And the first toy he spots, a Deluxe Volcano Building Set Supreme is perfect . . . for himself. It’s too much money, his mother tells him, choosing another gift for his classmate. But Warren can’t stop thinking about exploding volcanoes, and soon he and Dragon are thinking up ways to make money and buy the volcano set for themselves. A bake sale? A magic show? A car wash? All great ideas…that is until Warren’s sister misinterprets their personal fundraising for charity fundraising and decides that everything they earn should go to the local children’s hospital. Does this mean that Warren and Dragon will have to give away all the money they make? Goodbye Deluxe Volcano Building Set Supreme!

  4. The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy - Perfect for fans of Meg Cabot or Sarah Mlynowski, this second book in a fun series shows that kindness never goes out of style! “Imagine what a better world we’d live in if Kindness Clubs spring up at every school. This series is inspiring!” —Wendy Mass, New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers Creative and fashion-forward Lucy Tanaka was thrilled when Chloe Silver moved to town. Together with Theo Barnes, they formed The Kindness Club, testing different acts of kindness on their friends, neighbors, and siblings. One day, Lucy learns that their classmate, Serena, recently lost her mother. On top of that, it’s Serena’s birthday next weekend. Lucy is determined to lift Serena’s spirits, and she knows the perfect way to do it—rallying the Kindness Club to throw Serena the best birthday party ever at her family’s bowling alley. But as unexpected complications arise that threaten to ruin the party, can Lucy find another way to help her new friend during this hard time? Inspired by kindness projects and anti-bullying campaigns across the country, award-winning author Courtney Sheinmel’s delightful series will have all readers thinking kind!

Want to see more children's books about kindness?

Books About Birthdays and Friendship

Duck and Goose, a Gift for Goose book
#1
Duck and Goose, a Gift for Goose
Written and illustrated by Tad Hills
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Duck and Goose, the stars of #1 “New York Times”-bestselling Hills’ beloved picture book series, return in an all-new, easy-to-read book. Duck has a very nice gift for Goose, and the perfect box to put it in…maybe too perfect! Full color.

Masha and the Bear: Reader #2 book
#2
Masha and the Bear: Reader #2
Written and illustrated by Lauren Forte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An exciting leveled reader featuring Masha and the Bear! After the Bear’s birthday, Masha gets excited about her own special day—and all of the presents she’ll get. But when her birthday finally arrives, she can’t find her friends. Where are they? Did they forget?!

Much Too Much Birthday book
#3
Much Too Much Birthday
Written and illustrated by J E Morris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Maud the koala can’t wait for her birthday party–until everything starts to feel way too overwhelming. Maud is having a birthday party in her backyard, and she’s invited her friends–all fifty-six of them–to celebrate with her. She’s not worried, though. After all, you can never have too much birthday! But when the guests arrive and the party gets packed, she isn’t so sure. What will happen if Maud can’t bear her own birthday?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday - Amanda Panda’s birthday is tomorrow. She’ll be the first kid in her class to turn six! But when she gets to the bus stop, her best friend/worst enemy Bitsy announces that today is HER birthday! And her party is planned for Saturday, the same day as Amanda’s! Birthday dreams ruined, Amanda’s can’t keep her temper in check at school. By recess, it looks like Amanda’s birthday plans—and her friendship with Bitsy—is over. But when the girls stop arguing long enough to listen to each other, they come up wtih a birthday plan that is TWICE the fun. Young children will learn about sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution, all the while laughing along with Amanda and Bitsy in this adorable, school-based story from a new favorite character.

  2. The Importance of Being 3 - The perfect present for three-year-olds, this picture book is a celebration of all things three! All the best things come in threes, not one, not two, but three, like the three-year-olds in this sweet picture book. As all parents know, three is a big year. Follow along as three friends learn new things in threes—from tricycles to triangles—take a dip in the pool, and play in the park with their friends! Of course, it’s not all fun and games. There’s a tantrum and then hugs all around as the three kids head to bed. This adorable picture book celebrating important life events is the perfect gift for third birthdays. Kids will love pointing out all the activities they can do now that they are three years old.

  3. Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split - Anna has two favorite things: her best friend, Sadie, and her dog, Banana. She can’t wait to celebrate her birthday with both of them. But Anna’s birthday party turns into a birthday disaster when Sadie starts a terrible fight that Anna never saw coming. Anna doesn’t know why her best friend is suddenly acting like her worst enemy, but she knows she’d do anything to fix it. She and Banana just need to come up with a plan. Only, what if Sadie doesn’t want their friendship to be fixed?

  4. Moon Shadow - Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank discovers that she can become the girl she’s always wanted to be with the help of a little “moon magic” in this charming novel about the value of friendship, family, and finding yourself. Lucia Frank has never had time for her mom’s “new age” nonsense. She doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. All she wants is to figure out how to get her best friend, Will, back and cope with her parents looming divorce. But then something strange happens on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When the eclipsed moon slips into the shadow of the earth, Lucia’s Shadow slips out. Now hidden in a moonstone, the Shadow waits for Lucia to sleep so it can come out to play. Lucia’s Shadow seems unlike her in almost every way: daring, outspoken, and unwilling to let anyone push her around. But it actually isn’t the anti-Lucia…in fact, her Shadow is very much like the person Lucia wishes she could be. At first, Lucia is eager to undo whatever magic happened on her birthday so life can get back to normal. But when she realizes her Shadow is doing and saying things she has only dreamed about, she wonders if maybe things aren’t all bad. With a little help from her Shadow, she’s turning into the kind of girl she’s always wanted to be.

Want to see more children's books about friendship?

Books About Birthdays and Bears

The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree book
#1
The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree
Written by Jan Berenstain and illustrated by Mike Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Cousin Fred accidentally damages Brother’s brand-new bike,Brother Bear is angry. Can Sister Bear help him see that forgiving hisfriend is the right thing to do?

Happy Birthday, Moon book
#2
Happy Birthday, Moon
Written and illustrated by Frank Asch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Moonbear discovers that he and the moon share the same birthday. Now Moonbear wants to give his nighttime friend a present. But what do you buy the moon?

Bears and a Birthday book
#3
Bears and a Birthday
Written by Shirley Parenteau and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

In their fourth endearing escapade, four small bears prepare a celebration for Big Brown Bear’s birthday.

Mmm, something smells good in the kitchen. Big Brown Bear is curious—what are those little bears up to? Are they making something special? No peeking, Big Brown Bear! Floppy and Fuzzy, Yellow and Calico have a cake to bake and a gift to wrap, then it’s finally time for the birthday surprise. Delightful rhymes and huggable bears are just the right ingredients for a cheerful birthday read-aloud.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Make a Wish, Henry Bear - Henry Bear has very unusual parents. They encourage him to stay up all night, eat chocolate cake at every meal, and get into trouble with his teacher. Why? Find out in this droll tale about making wishes with unanticipated consequences written and illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh, author of Fish, which Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called “full-bodied” and “rewarding.”

  2. Willa and the Bear - More than anything, Willa adores her ragdoll, Rosie, made just for her by Grandma. But one day, on a bumpy sleigh ride to Grandma’s birthday dinner, Rosie falls into the snow and disappears. Willa is inconsolable—until, mysteriously, Rosie reappears at Grandma’s door. Can Willa find a way to thank the special friend who returned her doll? This picture book will warm the heart of every child who has ever had a favorite toy.

  3. Big Brown Bear's Birthday Surprise - It’s his birthday and Big Brown Bear doesn’t even know it until his friend Rat fills him in during a picnic by the river. Everything goes swimmingly until an empty boat passes by and Big Brown Bear jumps in! Beginning readers will enjoy the watery ride in this sweet story full of sunshine, splashes, cucumber sandwiches, and friendship.

Want to see more children's books about bears?

Books About Birthdays and Mischief

Abuela's Birthday book
#1
Abuela's Birthday
Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Sofia and her cousins are making a piänata for their grandmother’s birthday party, but when Bella the cat gets involved chaos ensues.

Ginger Green is Absolutely MAD for Birthday Parties (Mostly) book
#2
Ginger Green is Absolutely MAD for Birthday Parties (Mostly)
Written by Kim Kane and illustrated by Jon Davis and Kim Kane
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Ginger is turning EIGHT and she’s having an exceptionally royal princess party! There will be crowns, a fancy castle cake, and even SPARKLE SLIME. But what happens when Crazy Maisy and No-Pants Penny get out of control?

My Lucky Birthday book
#3
My Lucky Birthday
Written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A hilarious trickster tale companion to the story time hit My Lucky Day.

Just as Alligator Al is planning the perfect birthday dinner for himself, there is a knock on his door. It’s a delicious-looking piglet—how lucky!

But as Al prepares his feast, the piglet makes some suggestions. Shouldn’t Al have a big birthday cake? Piglet can tell him how to make one. And wouldn’t the celebration be more fun with fancy decorations and party guests? Piglet would be happy to ask some friends to come over.

Al is so lucky that Piglet is there to help…or is he? Could Piglet have a clever party trick up his sleeve?

Fans of trickster tales, rooting for the underdog, and the proven crowd favorite My Lucky Day will be thrilled to see who turns out to have the luckiest birthday of all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. April Fools', Mr. Todd! - It’s April Fools’ Day — and Judy’s birthday — and Mr. Todd has a trick or two of his own planned in the latest Judy Moody tale for newly independent readers. April Fools’ Day just happens to be one of Judy Moody’s favorite days of the year. And this year she’s got one thing on her mind: the perfect prank she’s going to play on Mr. Todd, thanks to an awesome present from her brother, Stink. Gotcha, Mr. Todd! But in all the excitement over spaghetti trees, April fish, and fools’ errands, Judy worries that something else will be forgotten by Mr. Todd and Class 3T altogether: April 1 also happens to be Judy’s birthday! Gulp! Will her friends remember in time, or will Judy be the fool this year? And just what might Mr. Todd have up his sleeve?

  2. This Is NOT a Dragon Party - You’re invited to the most amazing birthday bash, complete with dragons, knights, and ogres! Think it sounds awesome? It IS! What happens when your birthday celebration includes a crazy dragon pool party, an all-knight karaoke festival, AND a tea and crumpets rumpus with ogres? You may think that sounds awesome, but the birthday girl does NOT—until she chases away her unruly guests and realizes everything is . . . boring. Can she manage to get her party started again? This antic picture book is pure, unbridled joy.

Want to see more children's books about mischief?

Epilogue

22 books that are just too good to leave off of our birthdays list.

  1. Click, Clack, Surprise! - The Book Snob Mom - Cronin and Lewin’s cute farmyard animals return! While this is a birthday book (and you can see the party preparations throughout—killer cake Farmer Brown!), it’s also a “getting ready” book, showing all of the different preparations the animals take to look the best for the party, and the hilarious and somewhat disastrous results when one tries to follow all of the grooming techniques demonstrated! The expressive illustrations are my favorite part.

  2. The Birthday Cake - A hilarious cumulative story about baking a ‘pancake-cake’ for the cat with three birthdays a year! When Pettson sets out to make Findus a cake, he finds that he’s missing a key ingredient. This starts a hilarious chain of events resulting in Pettson distracting a bull, climbing through a skylight into his attic to find his fishing pole to fish the key out of the well, so he can open his shed, fix his flat tire, then ride to the store to buy some flour (and a new pair of overalls), then made a tasty cake for Findus!

  3. A Birthday for Frances - As her little sister Gloria’s birthday approaches, Frances wavers between being generous and being jealous. Frances wrestles with temptation when she buys her sister candy for her birthday and then thinks about keeping it for herself. Frances becomes mean and selfish, until rare generosity and birthday spirit move her to reluctantly give her coveted gift. Frances is every youngster who chafes at being the un-birthday child.

  4. Happy Birthday to You! - Celebrate your unique self with Dr. Seuss and the Great Birthday Bird in the ultimate birthday book! I wish we could do what they do in Katroo. They sure know how to say “Happy birthday to you!” In the picture book Happy Birthday to You!, Dr. Seuss has crafted the perfect celebration of the person you were born to be. When the Great Birthday Bird arrives to usher in your “Day of all Days,” you can expect a colorful romp full of fantastical fun that is all about YOU! With birthday festivities on every page, readers go on a journey that teaches them to celebrate being themselves—every single day of the year! This joyful classic rejoices about the things that make you unique! It’s the essential birthday gift for ages one to 101—from the one and only Dr. Seuss! Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! “Pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss.” –President Barack Obama

  1. Cupcake - Poor Vanilla Cupcake. He’s feeling a bit drab next to his fancy brothers and sisters. But when his new pal, Candle, comes along with some fresh ideas, the two hatch a plan to become the snazziest duo ever found on a plate! With an undeniably adorable hero and eye-catching design, Cupcake is sure to appeal to the sweet tooth in young readers everywhere.

  2. A Farmer Boy Birthday - Long, long ago, a little boy named Almanzo Wilder lived on a farm in the New York countryside with his father, his mother, his big brother, Royal, and his big sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. One special day is Almanzo’s birthday. He gets to stay home from school, and even better, Father gives him a yoke for his calves, Star and Bright, and a beautiful hand-sled. Almanzo spends the morning learning how to break the calves, and then he spends the afternoon flying down the hill in his brand-new sled. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers. Now for the first time, the youngest readers can share Almanzo’s adventures on the farm in these very special picture books adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved storybooks. Jody Wheeler’s warm paintings, inspired by Garth Williams’ classic Little House illustrations, bring Almanzo and his family lovingly to life.

  3. Judy Moody and Friends: Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx - Judy’s mom takes the spotlight as the Moody family tries to give her the birthday she would like in a broadly funny episode just right for newly independent readers. Make a wish, Mrs. Moody! Every year on Mom’s birthday, one way or another, something goes wrong-not-right. Maybe Judy’s been in a bad mood. Maybe Stink’s gotten a little carsick. Maybe Dad can’t bake Mom’s favorite carrot cake. But this year is going to be different. This year is going to be perfect. This year, Judy is going to do all she can to make sure Mom gets the happy birthday she deserves. Watch out! The Boss of Birthday (aka Judy) is on the job! Parsnip cake with avocado frosting, anyone?

  4. Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar - This gorgeous little gift book from The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the perfect way to say “Happy Birthday!” Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar for a celebration of everyone’s special day. This beautiful book features Eric Carle’s bright, colorful artwork of birthday surprises—from presents to balloons, and of course, cake—with The Very Hungry Caterpillar making an appearance alongside each one. This book is the perfect birthday gift for readers young and old.

  1. Princess Arabella's Birthday - It’s Princess Arabella’s birthday. She wants a very special present: an elephant. But will she get what she wants?

  2. The Birthday Box - “Refreshing. . . . A perfect birthday book for a toddler!” — School Library Journal (starred review) What’s better than getting a brand-new toy as a birthday gift? Playing with the box it came in! Climb in for a flight across the ocean, a jaunt on a sailing ship, some sledding down a slippery slope, and a brief stint as a robot. Good thing the toy pup that came inside the box is happy to come along for the ride! Leslie Patricelli draws from the well of parental wit and wisdom for another adventure starring everyone’s favorite baby character.

  3. Patrick Griffin's First Birthday on Ith - The second book in an absurdly funny, middle-grade action-adventure series about a boy’s quest to prevent a parallel world from taking over Earth. “Part Narnia, part Home Alone. It wouldn’t have shocked me to learn the book had been written by some guy named Lemony Vonnegut.” —James Patterson, New York Times-bestselling author, on Patrick Griffin’s Last Breakfast on Earth After learning Earth is about to be destroyed, 12-year-old Patrick Griffin is on a mission. Under the protection of a powerful griffin, Patrick and his friend Oma travel through abandoned cities on the planet Ith, hiding from the enemy while they work out a plan to overthrow the alternate world’s sinister government. Back on Earth, the gigantic jackalope Mr. BunBun and nine adorable numbats race to warn humans about impending doom. But time is running out. The evil Rex Abraham is back on Ith and will stop at nothing to continue his domination of the Three Worlds. Breathtaking suspense, elements of science fiction and fantasy, and surprising twists come together in Ned Rust’s Patrick Griffin’s First Birthday on Ith, the second book of the page-turning Patrick Griffin and the Three Worlds trilogy. Praise for Patrick Griffin’s Last Breakfast on Earth: “There is plenty of comedy along the way, mostly focused around puns or interplanetary misunderstandings. Under the jokey exterior, though, there’s some deep stuff about the way we allow ourselves to be controlled by technology, so the book offers more than just laughs for the perceptive reader.” —The Bulletin “Clever—and utterly bonkers.” —Kirkus Reviews “Imaginative.” —School Library Journal “A terrific read, magic really, an adolescent book for adults, an adult book for adolescents, a funny, wise, enthralling romp from fist page to last . . . So much better than Harry Potter” —Peter Quinn, Author of Hour of the Cat Titles in the Patrick Griffin and the Three Worlds trilogy: Patrick Griffin’s Last Breakfast on Earth Patrick Griffin’s First Birthday on Ith Patrick Griffin’s Deadliest Day Ever

  4. Happy Birthday Davy! - Davy is counting the days until his birthday. It seems like such a long wait! He is so excited, he can hardly sit still when Father Rabbit tells a story about a lucky little rabbit who had three wishes that all came true. Davy decides that if he had three wishes, he’d wish for someone who would tell him stories whenever he wanted, someone who would teach him new games, and someone who always had plenty of time to spend with him. Davy’s birthday finally arrives and with it comes a big surprise present—too big to be wrapped—that makes all of Davy’s wishes come true and his birthday the happiest one ever. This new adventure featuring Davy and the Rabbit family shows that love is the best gift of all.

  1. Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish - A joyful picture book that celebrates every kid’s favorite day of the year, full of adorable art from the illustrator of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site and I Wish You More. The most important rule is #1: It must be your birthday. After that’s been established, a crew of hilarious animals help picture book pros Tom Lichtenheld and Beth Ferry take readers through a joyous romp that covers the most important elements of every year’s most essential holiday, including singing; closing your eyes and making a wish; blowing out candles on a cake, then settling into bed and dreaming of your wish coming true.

  2. Creepy-Crawly Birthday - When Toby Monroe has a birthday party, his pets’ curiosity is aroused by seven strange suitcases which they investigate, with surprising consequences.

  3. Happy Birthday to You! - A group of musicians is traveling to a caf� for a surprise celebration. Press the buttons to hear them play their instruments . . . and join in with the whole band at the end to wish one little otter a very happy birthday! With a flute, guitar, violin, and piano, plus a rousing “big band” chorus and a splendid light-up birthday cake, this delightful little book makes the perfect birthday gift.

  4. When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree - “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all.

  1. Birthday Party Counting - Looking for a board book that celebrates birthdays? Look no further! Birthday Counting is the perfect choice for baby’s birthday party! This festive board book introduces counting in reverse from six to one, with all the typical trappings of a birthday fete, including cakes, balloons, and presents. This book is part of the First Celebrations series, which also includes Easter Counting, Halloween Colors, Vanlentine’s Shapes, Christmas Colors & Counting, and Thanksgiving Counting! Round out the series with this new fun and colorful book about the most important day of the year — your birthday!

  2. A Birthday for Cow! - Pig and Mouse are hard at work baking the best birthday cake EVER for Cow. But it would be a lot easier if Duck wasn’t hanging around, yammering on about turnips or some nonsense. (Sheesh!) With all this silliness going on, how will they manage to throw Cow a spectacular birthday party? Well, as it turns out, crazy Duck just might have had the right idea all along! Featuring wacky humor, rowdy repetitions, irreverent dialogue, and a hilarious twist at the end, this book is now available in an accessible reader-size format and is sure to have young readers laughing out loud!

  3. Birthday Cake - HAPPYLAND introduces three friends Bink, Clyde, and Glub-Glub in a series of delightful adventures that illustrate issues including sharing, gratitude, and worry. “Birthday Cake” tackles the ever-important issue of sharing, as the hero Clyde learns it s as much fun to give as it is to receive. There s nothing more important for little kids entering preschool than to be emotionally ready ready to separate from their parents, to mix and play with new children, to broaden their sense of the world. HAPPYLAND, from award-winning children s author Dan Yaccarino, is the board book series that gives kids, and their parents, the language they need to take these emotional steps.”

  4. A Wolf's Tale - We all know the story of the Big Bad Wolf and the three little pigs … or do we? Meet the great-great-great-great-grandson of the original Big Bad Wolf, also hot on the trail of some little pigs. Is he also up to no goodor is he trying to make friends at last? A hilarious twist on the original Three Little Pigs story, with stunning illustrations from acclaimed artist Eva Montanari.

  1. My First Birthday - This cheerful collection of colorful images and simple words provides the perfect introduction to the fun and festive symbols of a birthday celebration. Included are words such as candle, cake, gift, and balloon. The little size and sturdy pages make this sweet book perfect for little hands.

  2. The Night Before My Birthday - The Night Before My Birthday captures all the excitement and anticipation that every child experiences in the lead-up to their special day. The decorations are up, the table is set, and the food is ready – but what happens when there is an ice cream emergency? Once again Natasha Wing has written a story that is sure to appeal to every child getting ready for a birthday. The book is told by and seen through the eyes of the birthday child, so it is gender neutral and a fun gift for any birthday girl or boy.

Did you enjoy our birthdays book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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