Your book suggestions sought!

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I’ve gradually started working on our homemade presents for Christmas, and M’s (5th) birthday which is also in the middle of December. To go with the gifts I / we are making I’m looking for some fantastic books and I thought you might be able to help!


I’m looking for fantastic (picture) books about/featuring:

  • owls (remember this?)
  • construction/ engineering/woodworking
  • quilts
  • birthdays
  • hospitals (!) (could be loosely interpreted – Doctors / healthcare etc)
  • I’m also looking for a lovely book about:

  • lanterns/light in the darkness
  • Of course, poetry or non-fiction book recommendations would also be great. Please leave a comment with any suggestions, (or with the titles of the books you’ll be giving (or hoping to receive!) this holiday season πŸ™‚ ) Thanks so much!

    20 Responses

    1. Kristine

      Only thing I’ve come up with is “Goodnight Owl” by Pat Huchins. It’s got a nice repetitive text, lots of fun sound effects (I tend to do every bird of every page) and a great twist at the end. Only problem is I think it’s American so your children may not know all the birds.
      I flipped back to your owl page and the little dress is so sweet. I particularly love M’s owl softie. I’d love to do something like that with my daughter’s pictures become a little more solid.
      I hope your going to share what you’re creating for your gifts!
      I’ll keep thinking and see if I can come up with any other books.

      • Zoe

        Hi Kristine,
        If it weren’t for the fact we have this already, I’d have to say what an excellent suggestion! We love this book – the illustrations are so beautiful (I’ve always thought they’d make a great print on fabric), and making all the noises is a lot of fun. But I will now go and check out Pat Hutchins’ other books – we have Rosie’s Walk and Titch, but that’s it. I think it’s time to check the library catalogue!

    2. colleen

      Ok I went through my collection to try to think of some suggestions. I found 3 books that might work for you(although I think 2 are older).
      owl- older book (1981) we bought from library basement sale…its called Wise Owl’s days of the week by Jane Belk Moncure.
      birthday- again older (1988) sesame street/golden book called When is my Birthday (featuring Elmo) by Ray Sipherd.
      construction- (1999) bought new a few years ago. Little People(fisher price) Rob’s Shiny dump truck…board book that has the top of the pages cutout like the background…so that the front of the book has a layered effect of the dumptruck, and the construction site. I was also thinking you could get some Bob the builder books.

    3. Zoe

      Hi Colleen,
      Thanks for the suggestions (I hope it was fun going through your collection!) – I’m off to see what I can find out about them πŸ™‚

    4. Ashley

      “Can’t you sleep little bear” by Martin Waddell springs to mind for lanterns, as the big bear brings in a succession of lanterns for the smaller bear afraid of the dark. You may already have this though.
      For hospital books, the first one I could think of was the old favourite Topsy and Tim …. there is a Maisy goes to hospital book too …. and Usborne have a few books on this subject which we don’t actually have but I’m sure would be of good quality.
      Coming to think of it I’m sure Usborne also do construction themed books.
      A recent book my little boy received was a “Handy Manny” book “Mannys book of tools”, with moving spanners, screwdrivers, hammer etc. More suited to toddlers than older children and it’s in board book format.

    5. Zoe

      Hi Ashley,
      “Can’t you sleep…” might just be the one for us! We do indeed already have it, but it hasn’t been read for quite some time and maybe now, with your help in reminding us of it, is the time for it to get down off the bookshelf πŸ˜‰ “Manny’s book of tools” gets a good review on Amazon so I’ll have a closer look at that one too. Thanks for taking the time to suggestt these to me.

    6. Kellyi

      On the Owl Front:

      Zzzz – A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
      A board book which we all love. Fantastic owl pictures.

      Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

      White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicola Davies and Michael Foreman
      Educational and lovely.

      Construction/ Engineering
      My First Book of Diggers and Dumpers by Keith Jewitt
      Asks children to point and say the name of the machines etc so very interactive.

      Wheels by Shirley Hughes
      I love this story – all about building a go kart and material possesion!

      Mighty Machines – lift the flap book by Richard Edwards

      Make it Yourself Cars and Boats by Caroline Pitcher

      Granny’s Quilt by Penny Ives
      All about the life of a quilt – very sweet.

      All time favourite – NESS THE NURSE by Nick Sharratt (although not very fact based!) Even my 16 month old loves this one.

      Apart from that we have a very old book called “Lucy Smith goes to the Clinic” in which all the characters are decked out in their 60’s finery, so a bit dated perhaps!

      Lastly – Light in the darkness
      Moongame by Frank Asch.

      Hope they help, it was fun trying to remember them and then fishing them out for authors names.

    7. Zoe

      Wow Kellyi – lots of promising stuff in your suggestions – thanks so much. Moongame and Zzzz look particularly good, and of course Shirley Hughes is always a winner, although I don’t know this particular one. *Thanks* again for the great suggestions.

    8. Kristine

      Birthday stories
      ‘7 more Sleeps’ by Margaret Wild counts down the days as a family gets ready for a special birthday party with a surprise birthday person.
      ‘Princess Sophie’s Birthday’ Sophie’s godmother sends her a magic locket that makes wishes come true. She wishes for it to be her birthday every day but soon regrets this wish. It comes with a magic locket.
      “Kipper’s Birthday” by Mike Inkpen (great writer’s name) – Kipper has a party but makes a mistake on the invites and no-one comes. We had this on story tape from the library (narrated by Dawn French) but my daughter became genuinely devastated by the plot and now won’t listen to Kipper stories (no matter how good my Dawn French imitation is).

    9. Zoe

      Hi Kristine (again!)

      Seven more sleeps looks great – but I can only find it in the UK at a second hand bookseller for Β£17 so and it’s not in our library system (although other Margaret Wild books are, so I’ll have a look at them).

      I can’t find Princess Sophie’s Birthday unless you mean an Angelina Ballerina story? If it’s not Angelina, could you let me have the author’s name? Thanks.

      Kipper is a lovely character – and yes, what a cool name for an author. But I don’t want M to suffer the same fate as Rainbow so maybe I’ll not even try with that one πŸ˜‰ Would love to see your Dawn French imitation!

    10. Tricia

      I use a number of quilt books for teaching geometry. Here are a few of my favorites.

      Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines

      Eight Hands Round: A Patchwork Alphabet by Ann Whitford Paul

      The Seasons Sewn: A Year in Patchwork by Ann Whitford Paul

      Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell Ernst

      • Zoe

        Hi Tricia,
        Oh dear… my amazon balance is going to take a turn for the worse now you’ve given me all these wonderful suggestions! I particularly like the look of the illustrations in The Seasons Sewn. And I love the idea of using quilting for teaching geometry. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

    11. Kristine

      Sorry Zoe,

      I was miles off with the title “A Princess’s Secret Wish” by Kirsty Neale. Our books are rotated so when I wrote the book’s title, the actual book was in a box beneath my bed. Today my eldest really wanted to hear “Where is the Green Sheep” (Aus author Mem Fox) which was also packed away. That’s the problem with the roatation system. It’s hard to predict.

    12. Zoe

      Curiouser and curiouser – the only Kirsty Neale books on are things like “I love Johnny Depp” and “I (heart) Justin”…. I’ll have to dig a bit deeper πŸ™‚

    13. Margie Barbour

      What lovely creative work, reminds me of my PlaySchool days, which I used to produce for the BBC. I am a friend of your Mum’s who is truly impressed by your blog.
      Try and see Julie and Julia, a great woman’s film about cooking and a blog!
      Margie x

      • Zoe

        Thanks Margie for the tip – cooking and blogging sounds like a great combination to me πŸ™‚

    14. vanessa@silly eagle books

      Okay, so I don’t have any that are specifically about owls, but Introducing our Eastern Birds by Matthew Vessel and Herbert Wong has beautiful illustrations of owls in it.
      As for doctors, we love Doctor Rabbit by Jan Wahl. Not a person doctor, but a doctor all the same. The illustrations are really spectacular in this one.

      • Zoe

        Hi Vanessa,
        Thanks for the suggestions – is the Jan Wahl book called “Doctor Rabbit’s Foundling” – this is the only one I can find in Amazon. And in searching for Jan Wahl I’ve spotted another couple of books that I think lovely, including one illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Pleasant Fieldmouse), and a fun sounding one called “I met a dinosaur”.

    15. Sarah

      For “light in the darkness,” Eric Carle’s Very Lonely Firefly is an engaging read. My toddlers love this book!

      I also love Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

      I’ll think a little more about the others!

    16. Zoe

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for suggesting these books. I haven’t read that Eric Carle so I will definitely look out for it. If any more come to mind, please do let me know!

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