The Best Children's Picture Books to Celebrate Birthdays

Updated Jan. 19, 2019

Birthdays are such a fun time with children. They can be celebrated in many different ways. It is especially fun to see the light in their eyes when they know how special they are. This list of books can help you make your child's special day the best it can be!

Happy Birthday, Cupcake! book
#1
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).

The Best Birthday Present Ever book
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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.

Click, Clack, Surprise! book
#5
Click, Clack, Surprise!
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from 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.

Little Duck learns how to celebrate his birthday with a little help from all the other animals on the farm in this charming picture book from the award-winning duo, Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Happy first birthday, Little Duck! Everyone wants to look their best for the party. But Little Duck has never had a birthday before—so how better to learn how to prepare than to do what all the other animals do! The sheep trim their wool—so Little Duck trims her feathers. The pigs need a mud bath—so Little Duck quish and quashes, too. All over the barnyard Little Duck snips, slurps, squishes, and shimmy shakes herself ready until...WHOOPS! It’s party picture time—and Little Duck is a big mess. No matter—it’s not something Farmer Brown’s frosted maple cake can’t fix!

Bernice Gets Carried Away book
#6
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written and illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Having missed out on the other treats at a friend's birthday party, a grumpy cat grabs all of the balloons and floats into the sky, where she sees that her problems are not so big, after all.

A Birthday for Cow! book
#7
A Birthday for Cow!
Written and illustrated by Jan Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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!

Wakey, Wakey, Elephant! book
#8
Wakey, Wakey, Elephant!
Written by Linda Ravin Lodding and illustrated by Michael Robertson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A tickly feather. Roosters crowing. Even a marching band. Will ANYTHING wake Elephant? How do you make a snoozing, sleepyhead Elephant get up? Edgar tries everything, from putting a silly hat on Elephant's head to dancing a cha-cha on the bed. Nothing works . . . until Edgar whispers something very special in his friend's ear. SURPRISE! It's Elephant's birthday--and he's ready to party. Lively, silly, and full of fun, this picture book is a joyful celebration.

The Giant Hug book
#9
The Giant Hug
Written by Sandra Horning and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Monster Needs a Party book
#10
Monster Needs a Party
Written by Paul Czajak and illustrated by Wendy Grieb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Disappointed when none of his friends can attend his pirate birthday, Monster cheers up when he goes to a pirate theme park, instead.

The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree book
#11
The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree
Written by Jan Berenstain and illustrated by Mike Berenstain, 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?

Skippyjon Jones book
#12
Skippyjon Jones
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Holy guacamole! Skippyjon Jones is 10 years old! He’s fearless, he’s fun, he’s a hero to all! Enjoy a special edition of the book that launched a thousand Chimichangoes with a note from author Judy Schachner about how the character came into being. There’s a photo of the real Skippyjon Jones, and even a reversible jacket with El Skippito in his mask-ito on the other side. So hold on to your mice and beans – this book is the fiesta you’ve been waiting for!

Who Made this Cake? book
#13
Who Made this Cake?
Written by Chihiro Nakagawa and illustrated by Junji Koyose
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Little people use BIG machines to make a GIANT birthday cake! Imagine an industrialized Lilliput. Imagine today. Imagine an enormous construction site. Imagine a birthday cake like no other. What if the people you order your next birthday cake from are tiny, and what if they build cakes the way we build buildings? Tractor-trailers and giant cranes, catwalks, and helicopters. Hundreds of workers. Never have you seen such a construction site in this Horn Book Fanfare Award winner!

Froggy Bakes a Cake book
#14
Froggy Bakes a Cake
Written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Froggy’s mother’s birthday, and Froggy wants to bake her birthday cake all by himself. He gathers the chocolate, the sugar, the eggs, the flour, and pretty soon, Froggy has all the ingredients he needs to make?a big mess! Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz have collaborated on the six previous Froggy books, and they’ve cooked up another winner here, sweetened with generous helpings of Froggy humor and charm.

Creepy-Crawly Birthday book
#15
Creepy-Crawly Birthday
Written by James Howe and illustrated by Jeff Mack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

When Toby Monroe has a birthday party, his pets' curiosity is aroused by seven strange suitcases which they investigate, with surprising consequences.

Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday book
#16
Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday
Written by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Christine Grove
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Masha and the Bear: Reader #2 book
#17
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?!

Froggy’s Birthday Wish book
#18
Froggy’s Birthday Wish
Written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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!

Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune book
#19
Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune
Written and illustrated by Brenna Burns Yu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Cavekid Birthday book
#20
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.

My Lucky Birthday book
#21
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.

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon book
#22
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.

Judy Moody and Friends: Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx book
#23
Judy Moody and Friends: Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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?

Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar book
#24
Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Happy Birthday -Psacharopulo book
#25
Happy Birthday -Psacharopulo
Written and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Little Frog, her pigeon friend, Otto and Octavia, and other animals are preparing a surprise birthday party.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!