The Best Bookish Birthday Gifts for
by Jennifer Ridgway
Jenn recently made the decision to take a break from her publishing career to stay home with her twins full time. She loves sharing the joy of reading with her kids (the first thing in the nursery was the bookshelves, which have already been expanded numerous times) and has renewed her love of the library. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, tots, and one-eyed rescue cat, Padiddle.
Reading with my twins became so much fun around the age of three and continues now that they are four. They are more engaged with books: studying the pictures, picking up on rhyming, memorizing some books, wanting to assign “roles” when reading, and reading independently. There are so many amazing books that children this age will enjoy. Below are some suggestions for books and collections that make great birthday gifts for 3-and 4-year-olds (they’re also great for gifting any other time of the year too!). Because I like to give thematic gifts, I’ve also included suggestions of what you could give along with the books.
by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
It’s important to celebrate a birthday properly and this menagerie of animals is here to show you how! Rule #1? Make sure it actually is your birthday. A fun and hilarious book that’s sure to become a part of any family’s birthday traditions.
Pair with: Jumbo Coloring Pad - Animals
This activity book encourages encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning in young kids in a fun, creative way. Little ones can look, touch, smell, taste, hear, and, above all, play their way to scientific discovery with 14 different sensory-friendly experiments to try at home.
Pair with: Primary Science® ViewScope
by Britta Teckentrup
This new peek-through from Teckentrup is a beautiful, high quality book that is an introductory look at how bees pollinate flowers. With beautiful mixed-media illustrations and rhyming couplets, the story follows the bee through its active day.
Pair with: Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet
by B.B. Cronin
This one is great for the littlest seekers. A grandfather is planning to take his grandchildren to the park, but he’s lost his socks and shoes, and even his teeth. Vibrant colors and detailed illustrations encourage young explorers to find the objects hidden on each page.
Pair with: Spot It! Jr: Animals
by Tad Hills
Tad Hills is one of my favorite illustrators, and Duck and Goose and Rocket are a big part of our library. In the original book featuring the young birds, the two friends find what they think is an egg, which requires them to work together in hopes of hatching it. This 10th Anniversary edition includes a guide on how to draw the beloved characters.
Pair with: Hide N Squeak Eggs
by Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry is a favorite in our house, and this collection is a great introduction to iconic characters like Lowly Worm and Huckle Cat. A burst of activity on every page, generations of kids have pored over Scarry’s world of Busytown.
by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
This great boxed set includes both The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home as well as an original art print by Oliver Jeffers. Daywalt has created crayon characters with fully formed personalities, and Jeffers lends fun and unique visuals with his crayon illustrations. Both books are humorous and insightful, and they have quickly become modern classics.
by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series presents historical figures who can serve as role models for our children. This boxed set includes I am Abraham Lincoln, I am Amelia Earhart, I am Rosa Parks, and I am Albert Einstein as well as an exclusive, autographed print, suitable for framing. The books explore the traits that make these heroes great and that children can live up to in a conversational manner, reinforcing that we can all be heroes.
by Various, illustrated by Golden Books
- Both of my kids have become very interested in "Star Wars" over the last few months. This boxed set of five books is a perfect collection! It introduces kids to the villains and heroes (and droids!) of the series in an age-appropriate manner. The illustrations are full of personality, and the stories are fun.
- Pair with: Playskool Heroes Star Wars Millenium Falcon
This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020.
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