5 Classic picture books with craft activities


Welcome to my latest blog post.

The 23rd April marks World Book Day in some parts of the world and here in the UK it is known as World Book Night. With this in mind I am celebrating our love of classic picture books. I will be sharing five picture books that have proved popular in our home and I have a very easy activity to go alongside each read.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar handprint craft mammafilz.com

First published in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar continues to be a fantastic book enjoyed by many. My girls and I love reading it. Based on a caterpillar who munches his way through many a food item and eventually transforms in to a butterfly, it is a book I still remember reading when I was younger.

It is a book that grows with your child as not only is it a story but there is so much learning within it too. The days of the week are explored, numbers and amounts of food the caterpillar ate are mentioned and of course the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. The board book version we have is great for little fingers to handle and it is a great size to pop into your handbag.

The craft is simply done using handprints, including the red head where we made sure the fingers weren’t painted. We then added the eyes, ears and nose and I’m sure you’ll agree that it looks really effective.

To see more activities based on this book do read another blog post I have previously written, Toddler activities inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Owl Babies Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson.

Owl Babies cover book shot with hand print owl craft mammafilz.com

Owl Babies was first published in 1995. The book is simply written but it is emotive and  truly stunning.

Three young owls wake up in the night to find that their mummy isn’t beside them. It’s dark in the woods and Bill, the youngest owl, really misses his mummy. Sarah, the eldest does her best to reassure her young siblings giving explanations as to why mummy isn’t there but as the wait gets longer even she doubts if mummy will ever return.

The book is so true of how children, just like adults, can worry to. The vulnerability of all three owls is shown so well and the sheer relief they have when mummy returns is heartwarming. As well as being a touching read it is an insightful read for young readers cleverly informing them of an owls habitats, food tastes and showing that animals like children can have anxiety over darkness and separation.

The handprint craft was super easy to do and what a wonderful card it would make also.  You could even do a family of owls using a handprint from each family member.

Elmer by David McKee.

Elmer book cover with hand print craft mammafilz.com

Elmer is a colourful patchwork elephant and unlike all his elephant friends he is not grey. He acknowledges that he is different from his friends and wants to change. He goes about changing himself but soon realises that it’s fine to be different. His friends even make a special day at the end of the story where they embrace that Elmer is so colourful and “dress up” in different colours.

Elmer was first pubihsed in 1989 and often encourages many questions from my girls. It gives a positive message about embracing your unique self which I love. It’s certainly a colourful read and there are lots of other Elmer titles available to read also.


Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Fox's Socks cover shot with handprint craft mammafilz.com

This book is just fantastic! It has brought much amusement in our home and my eldest daughter still enjoys this book. She received this book when she was a few months old and now she is four and happily reads it to her younger sister.   The book is filled with lovely illustrations and lift the flaps. The story is so interactive and just an utter delight.

Poor Fox cannot find his socks. He looks everywhere for them and along the way finds various clothing items around the house. This is an uncomplicated, child friendly book with the setting of a home. I would highly recommend this book and the other books in the Acorn Wood series.

The fox handprint was easy to do and using the copper coloured paint for the face gave a lovely shimmery effect.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.

Giraffes Can't Dance book cover shot with handprint craft of a giraffe. Mammafilz.com

Giraffes Can’t Dance was first published in 1999 and has become an international bestseller. 2019 marks a special birthday for this book as it turns 20 years old.

The book is based on a giraffe called Gerald. He really wants to participate in the jungle dance, an event that has various animals showing their cool dance moves. Only problem is Gerald thinks he can’t dance and all the animals at the dance think he can’t either. They  embarrass Gerald on the evening of the dance leaving Gerald feeling very sad, a part my 2 year old really doesn’t like. Poor Gerald!  However, it is a grasshopper that shares wise words with Gerald and makes him realize that it is important to be yourself and to dance to the beat of your own drum.

My girls and I think giraffes are fascinating and we always enjoy sharing this fun rhyming read. The special anniversary copy pictured was kindly sent to us from the publishers. It will be available to buy on May 16rh.


I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our popular classic picture books and perhaps try a bookish craft too. A very happy World Book Day and Night to you.


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