Lovely Birthday Stories (and a giveaway!)

This has been a really busy, tiring and celebratory week with more birthday fun to come next week too!
It has been really appropriate to introduce the girls to some of my absolute favourite stories about birthdays and I thought I would share links to them on here too as they are not to be missed!

And in honour of now having over 600 Facebook friends who “like” The Imagination Tree’s page (THANK YOU!) I am planning to give away these books to one person on my birthday :-)

All you have to do is leave a comment to this post telling me one of your absolute favourite picture books to read to young children, and on Wednesday I will get Cakie to pull a name out of a hat.

First (and absolutely MOST favourite of all!) is The Blue Balloon by Mick Inkpen.

This story just captures a young child’s imagination so perfectly. It is all about a blue balloon that a little boy finds in his garden the day after his birthday party. But the balloons at his party were red and white. He quickly discovers that this balloon has strange and wonderful powers and it can never be popped! (How much more magic do you need than that?!) There are pages that pull out, unfold to a giant scale and have little surprises to delight. Every class of 4-5 year olds that I have ever taught has just loved this book, and now my little girls do too. Lovely.

Also by Mick Inkpen (genius author and illustrator) is Kipper’s Birthday.

 This story is very funny and clever and is all about how Kipper the dog makes a big mistake when writing his invitations for his party, so that everyone ends up coming on the wrong day! At school we used this as a great teaching story for covering themes about yesterday/today/tomorrow and as a launch pad into reading and writing for different purposes (invitations, thank you cards, following and writing simple recipes.)

And lastly, Happy Birthday Maisy by Lucy Cousins.

I love all of the Maisy books for their beautiful, bright and appealing illustrations and simple, child-like stories. In this book there are lots of flaps to lift  and tabs to pull, and all of the important birthday elements are included from invitations to balloons, cake to presents. Those alone are enough to excite and satisfy all small children (and big ones like this Mummy too!)

Please tell me what one of YOUR favourite picture books is (not necessarily birthday-related) and we will randomly choose a winner for the above 3 books on Wednesday. Open to international readers too

Thank you!


  1. Anonymous says

    I have only read the Maisy book of the ones that you have listed. We love “The Hungry Caterpillar”…anything related to butterflies in this house! haha The blue balloon sounds fantastic though – thank you for the idea!!

  2. says

    At our childcare setting the children adore ‘the gruffalo’ they now know the lines and the sequence of the animals. I love this story myself as it takes you on the journey through the forest and is such a visual experience for all involved! Congratulations on over 600 likers on facebook. You deserve it! :)

  3. Anonymous says

    our favorite picture book is “each pear peach plum” It has lovely pictures to look at and makes a great game of eye spy. It has also introduced my 2 year old to many favorite characters from my childhood like the three bears etc.

  4. says

    Congrats on your FB milestone!! :-)

    I love the “Llama llama” series of books (read them to my class and my own daughter). Probably my favorite is “Llama llama red pajama” about little llama waiting for his mama to come up before he can fall asleep.

  5. Lisa Ryan says

    I work in Childcare and I just LOVE reading to children as much as they love being read to.

    Their favourites (which become my favourite too), are:
    Preschool Children – “Where are you blue kangaroo”, by Emma Chichester Clark. They love to chant the line “Where are you blue kangaroo”.

    Toddlers – “We’re going on a bear hunt” by Michael Rosen.

    Also, want to say thanks for a wonderful site, I am so glad I found your site through facebook. It will see me implement many of your ideas :-)

  6. says

    Anything by Shirley Hughes really, but I will take advice from the little guy on this and say ‘An evening at Alfie’s’ Even though my wee man is only 2 he sits through the whole book and loves it.

  7. says

    my favorite book to read to my kids is ‘I am a Bunny’ by Ole Risom. Congrats and thank you for the giveaway! ..of ALL the books I have I don’t have any of those 3.. better look them up! :)

  8. says

    I love so many picture books, it’s hard to choose just one…
    If pushed, though, I’d have to go for Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess. So beautiful. Makes me howl.

  9. says

    Anything from Lynley Dodd makes my girls, and I, smile. ‘My cat likes to hide in boxes’ is a particular favourite. With lines like, ‘The cat from Berlin played the violin, but my cat likes to hide in boxes’ – you can’t go wrong!

  10. GemmyBell x says

    Congratulations! ↲
    I love the charlie and lola books because they are written just how little ones minds work! :-)

  11. says

    My favorite book to read is actually a book from my childhood (literally have the exact book from my childhood, now the front cover is missing). “Bears in the Night”. My boys help me as we go out the window, over the bridge, and through the woods. Such fun to read!

  12. says

    I love reading I Love You As Big As the World. I have really enjoyed your blog. I am a stay-at-home mom in Florida. I used to teach Early Childhood Education. I found your blog looking for a salt dough recipe and now I find myself frequently checking it for new ideas. Thanks so much for all of the fun crafts!!!! We have tried quite a few of them :)

  13. says

    We just love If you Give a Mouse a cookie ! It ends up being a great little one liner in our house when we have to say “no” to some request ! Love your blog, I’m a homeschooling mom of five boys and have really enjoyed your ideas !

  14. says

    Happy Birthday Anna!! And congratulations on reaching 600 followers! I’m excited to look into the books that you’ve shared — we read a lot of books, but haven’t explored these yet. One of our all-time favorite books that gets requested time and time again (and happens to have a small birthday scene in it) is “In the Town All Year Round” by Rotraut Susanne Berner. Have a wonderful birthday week.

  15. Anonymous says

    I have never read The blue balloon but it sounds amazing, think I will have to have a search for it.
    We have lots of favourites at our house, some include The Gruffalo, The Hungry Caterpillar, Aaaarrgghh Spider, Kitty Princess, Delilah Darling and Charlie and Lola stories!


  16. Anonymous says

    I am a early Years/primary teacher and my absolute favourite to share with a class and my own 2 children has to be The Little Mole Who Knew it was None of His Business by Werner Holzwarth

    This is about a mole who pops his head out of his hole and ends up with a poo on his head. He is desperate to find out who the offender is so visits each animal who then show him the proof that their poo looks very different to the one on mole’s head. This story gets the kids every time and they howl with laughter. It is excellent for engaging boys who would normally run a mile from a book and it gives them loads to talk about so great for language development too.

  17. Lisa says

    I love reading many books to my 9 month old. Some favorites-

    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
    Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See
    A sock is a pocket for my toes

  18. says

    Happy Birthday Anna! What a great idea! We’d probably also start with Each Peach Pear Plum, for mains Monkey With A Bright Blue Bottom and Day Monkey Night Monkey for dessert. Midnight snack would be any of the Richard Scarry books. Then there’s always the Microsoft Flight Simulator magazines, but I’m not sure they fit into the category of ‘children’s books’ :)

  19. says

    My absolute favourite is The Gruffalo. I am a big fan of rhyming books anyway, but I just think that story is so well written and I just love that clever little mouse! The Gruffalo’s Child is an excellent follow up too.
    I also think Guess How Much I Love You is lovely.

    I adore your blog. You have given us so many brilliant ideas, thank you.

  20. says

    One of our favorites that we read on a weekly basis is Arnie the Donut by Laurie Keller. It probably looks like a book that has too much going on for a young child, but that has actually given it longevity in our house. As she has gotten older (4), she still likes to hear the basic story, but has begun looking at the “side” conversations in the book and talking about them. I called it a book for her to grow into, and certainly has become that for us!

  21. says

    It is book fortnight at my daughters preschool and when asked to bring a fav book, she chose “A Birthday for Bear”. She enjoyed sharing it with friends yesterday.
    Another favorite is Monkey Puzzle these days.

  22. Helen Dodsworth says

    Ours would have to be Driving Down to Grandma’s by Ian Whybrow. We got it out of the library and had to buy it in the end because every time I tried to take it back my 2 year old was in tears so we had to take it out again! It has lovely rhyming text and there is so much to talk about in the pictures too. My son loves the map of the journey at the front too and likes to tell the story himself from the map. This is the first book he recited off by heart and it makes my heart melt watching him sit and read it to my 5 month old son! He isn’t 2 1/2 yet!!!