Children’s Book Gift Guide

  • by Jennifer Nicholson
  • December 19, 2013

Are you looking for some great books to buy as gifts for the children in your life? Here are some wonderful newly published books that are sure to please.

Children’s Book Gift Guide

The Birthday Queen

Audrey and Don Wood
Scholastic Press
Recommended for ages 4-8


This new book by the beloved husband and wife team of Audrey and Don Wood tells the story of all that the Birthday Queen does to prepare for your birthday. There are clowns to audition, cakes to make, invitations to send and decorations to hang. If the Birthday Queen sounds a lot like your mom, that’s probably because she is! It includes beautiful, colorful full-page illustrations in the typical Wood style that so many have come to love.  


How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD?

Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Mark Teague
Scholastic Press
Recommended for ages 3-5


The latest in the popular “How Do Dinosaurs…?” series, this book shows what dinosaurs might want to do when they get mad. The dinosaurs slam doors, throw toys and rip up books. In the end the dinosaur decides to count to 10, take a deep breath, clean up his mess and apologize. This is a great book to show kids that their feelings are normal, but give them a better way to handle their emotions than acting out. As with all of the other books in this series, Jane Yolen and Mark Teague work together to make a great book that successfully captures the toddler mindset.


Peck, Peck, Peck

Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 2-5


Peck, Peck, Peck is Lucy Cousin’s newest book about an eager young woodpecker who is learning to peck. Like most youngsters, this woodpecker is excited to practice his new skill. The woodpecker pecks through all sorts of interesting, rhyming objects like a tennis racket, a jacket, a teddy bear, an armchair, and Jane Eyre. Children will be delighted with the actual holes in the pages and cover revealing bright contrasting colors beneath.

The Princess and the Peas

Author: Caryl Hart
Illustrator: Sarah Warburton
Nosy Crow
Recommended for ages 3-7


In this rhyming Princess and the Pea spin-off, Lily-Rose May discovers that she is allergic to peas. The doctor confirms this diagnosis and tells her that it means she is a princess and must go and live at the palace where she will be safe from peas. While Lily is initially happy at the palace, she soon realizes that being a princess is not all it’s cracked up to be. She must memorize speeches, practice waving, smiling and shaking hands, and eat cold cabbage soup every day. She quickly decides that she is not allergic to peas and rushes home to her father where she eats her peas dipped in ketchup, chocolate or cheese. The beautiful illustrations are very pleasing and the story will appeal to picky eaters and their parents everywhere. This is also a great alternative princess book for parents who are tired of reading the same stories over and over.


Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies

Author: George McGavin
Illustrator: Jim Kay
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 7-10


Bugs is a great book for the arthropod lover in your life! Have you ever wanted to open up a cockroach and look inside? Well here is your chance! Each page features a short paragraph about bugs and then tons of additional information in pop-outs, fold-outs and beneath flaps. It will take hours to explore every nook and cranny of this book. It features tons of interesting facts, for example, did you know that the Bombardier beetle can spray a stream of boiling hot chemicals from its abdomen or that Camel spiders hunt birds, reptiles, and insects? The illustrations and pop-outs in this book are incredibly detailed and well done.




The Goods

Author: McSweeney’s
Editors: Mac Barnett and Brian McMullen
Publisher: Big Picture Press
Recommended for ages 8 and up


McSweeney’s lovers will enjoying sharing this book with their children. The Goods is one of the first books published by Big Picture Press, an imprint of Candlewick Press, which strives to publish books that are “visually intelligent, surprising, and accessible to readers of all ages, abilities, and nationalities.” The Goods definitely meets these expectations. It is filled with puzzles, quizzes, pictures and interesting ideas and material. It will keep you and/or your child busy for many, many hours. The material included in this book is all over the map. From Uncle Jon’s Krazy Korner, which includes information about how to be as amazing as an ant or make your own prehistoric fossil, to Cook with Your Face: how to make a banana-nut mouthshake and everything in between. All of the major names in children’s humor have contributed to this book including: Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka and many more. The pages are single-sided so that you can cut out parts if you so desire.


Author: Aaron Becker
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 4-8


Journey is a phenomenal wordless picture book that tells the tale of a girl with a magic red marker which allows her to escape to another world. The pictures are beautiful and tell a touching story. Children of all ages will delight in “reading” this book, from the young ones who will be happy to dictate what is happening to the older ones who will be able to make deeper, meaningful connections to the story.







Jennifer Nicholson is an elementary school librarian in Montgomery County, Maryland.

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