Best Birthday Present Book Picks from Green Bean Books

Is it just us, or are birthday parties picking up steam in these parts? It can be tricky to figure out what gift to buy, whether a gift is wanted at all, whether this kid likes action figures or stuffed animals…. Well, you can’t go wrong with a good book. Here, Nevin Mayes and Moira Koskey of Green Bean Books share their favorites.

Baby & Toddler:


Little You, Board Book by Richard Van Camp, illustrations by Julie Flett, $9.95

Little You expresses in poetic stanzas the joy babies bring into the world. Inclusive illustrations depict babies enjoying activities and nature with a mom and dad. The bold reds and the contrasting dark blues and black against white and beige are perfect for keeping baby’s interest. A great gift idea for celebrating birthdays and family or for just letting a little one know they are special.


A Birthday for Cow!, Board Book by Jan Thomas, $7.99

Pig and Mouse are baking a surprise cake for Cow’s birthday. Duck keeps trying to add a turnip, but turnips don’t belong in birthday cake! Will he ruin the cake? Toddlers will enjoy the surprise ending as well as knowing everyone is satisfied and satiated. Recommended as a gift that can also be read as a post-sugar crash story time.


Picture Books (ages 4-8):

Click, Clack, Surprise!, by Doreen Cronin, illustrations by Betsy Lewin, $17.99

From the bestselling author of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type comes a birthday surprise that’s not quite what the barnyard expected. Little Duck watches and mimics how the other critters get ready for the party, then heads over to the maple tree herself. Kids will get a kick out of how she turns up! This is a gift sure to be loved and read again and again.


Where’s the Party?, by Ruth Chan, $17.99

Georgie woke up today and decided it was a great day for a party. But as friend after friend tells her they can’t attend her party, all for increasingly dubious reasons, she begins to think she might’ve been mistaken. She is happily surprised to get home and find all of her friends waiting with a surprise party for her. The many wonderful themes in this story will make it a gift that’s treasured for many years.


A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals, by Lucy Ruth Cummins, $16.99

A Hungry Lion starts with a fun twist on a growing pattern—by reversing the pattern and describing the hungry lion and his dwindling assortment of story mates. But he turns up to a surprise party thrown by the previous assortment of dwindling animals. And an enormous cake! It’s not over yet…the party takes an unexpected turn that’ll tickle readers’ guilty pleasure funny bones. An especially great gift for kids and adults with an appreciation for absurd or dark humor.


Middle Readers (Age 8-12)

The Doodle Book of Feel Good, by Charise Mericle Harper, $12.99

A delightful gift for all ages and artistic leanings. Coloring fun doodles is a great way to de-stress and lift the mood on any day, including your birthday. Expert doodler and author Cherise Mericle Harper works inspiring sayings into the drawings for a little extra oomph to get in the spirit on party day. It’s sure to be enjoyed before the party’s even ended.


The Mighty Odds, by Amy Ignatow, $15.95

An excellent gift idea for avid and reluctant readers alike, The Mighty Odds is an amusing reminder to be careful what you wish for. After a bus accident on the way back from a school trip, four kids discover they have super powers. But they aren’t very impressive powers—teleporting four inches to the left or reading people’s minds, but only when they’re thinking about directions. Or how about having super strength…in your thumbs? Can these four kids set aside their differences and combine their powers to find out what happened to them?


The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff, $16.99

Utterly unique and full of excitement, this fantastical celebration of imagination and individuality will appeal to boys and girls alike. Brian and his cousin Nora have been ordered to stay out of the forest, but when they accidentally get lost in the woods, they run across an enormous, haphazard castle. There they encounter the singular van Dash family and discover the eccentricities of the castle, such as giant insects from the Amazon, hidden treasure, elaborate contraptions, and underground tunnels. When the castle is threatened by an ornery, small-minded bureaucrat, Brian and Nora band together with their new friends to save this extraordinary home and its inhabitants from destruction. Any kid who has spent an aimless summer afternoon lost in dreams of stumbling into a grand adventure will love this cheerful, action packed tale.

Special thanks to Green Bean Books for putting together these picks. Green Bean Books is a wild and whimsical community-based, independent children’s bookstore in the Alberta Arts District of Portland, Oregon. They curate the very best new and used children’s books for newborns to young adults. Join Green Bean Books for one of their four weekly story times! They host regular craft stations, summer camps, author visits, read to a dog sessions, monthly musical Spanish story times and are always planning for more fun! Stay tuned to all their upcoming events via their Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, blog, and newsletter! Visit their website at:

Ali Wilkinson
Follow me
Latest posts by Ali Wilkinson (see all)
Scroll to Top