Kids books where new guests keep arriving (possibly for a feast)
May 1, 2019 9:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of stories or kids books where each page (or each second page or whatever), is a new guest (or set of guests) arriving. They can either all stay or each person or set of people can go as the new set arrives). Ideally they would be arriving for a feast, food, tea or something like that. What I'd like is to find the premise of each book (i.e. why are the guests coming, what's the gimmick, etc.). So titles or even half remembered premises are both good. Examples inside.

Two examples I can think of:

"But no elephants" where an old woman agrees to babysit, then take care of a cat, dog, etc. etc. and each time she sort of sighs and says "Ok, but NO ELEPHANTS". Of course this ends with her taking in an elephant and essentially having a zoo in her home.

"A squash and a squeeze" where a woman complains that her house is too small and a neighbour (?) advises her to move various animals inside one at a time. each time she keeps complaining that the house is too small. By the end she's living with a cow/pig/chicken etc. in her house. Finally the neighbour starts telling her to move the animals back outside to the barn and at the end her house feels very roomy.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Grab Bag (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
May I Bring a Friend? might work. IIRC from when my kids were little, things get pretty crowded by the end.
posted by Orlop at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Canary in the Library has a series of animals entering a library. [YouTube]

A Fly Went By might apply, though they aren't guests.
posted by sacrifix at 9:11 AM on May 1, 2019

Sandra Boynton's Hippos Go Berserk is just like that. The one hippo is lonely and invites someone over, and it kind of cascades into being a party from there.
posted by teremala at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2019 [15 favorites]

Maurice Sendak, One Was Johnny (Carole King Version)
Sandra Boynton, Hippos Go Berserk!
posted by miles per flower at 9:14 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

"Bear Says Thanks" in which Bear invites a bunch of animals for a feast but forgets to prepare any food; his animal friends, presumably aware of Bear's chronic irresponsibility, save the day by handling it potluck style. (I may be editorializing slightly.)
posted by ook at 9:14 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Bear Snores On (which is the first in the line of the Bear books by Karma Wilson), also has the plot line of all the animals coming into the cave and sharing food, etc. It also happens to be one of my favorite books to read aloud, can mostly recite from memory.
posted by dawg-proud at 9:18 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

These aren't exactly what you have in mind; the characters aren't exactly guests. But they may be close enough to be helpful.

The Mitten by Jan Brett - A boy loses his mitten and a little mole crawls into it. The mole is joined by one animal after another, each larger than the last, until finally a bear crawls into it, sneezes and blows them all out, leaving the mitten enormously stretched.

The Wuggie Norple Story by Daniel Pinkwater - A dad brings home a fast-growing kitten, though no one else in the family seems to notice how big she's getting. When he remarks that the cat is as big as a bulldog, they all disagree, so he brings home a bulldog for comparison. He keeps bringing home larger and larger animals to compare to the cat.

I was also going to suggest One Was Johnny, but someone beat me to it.
posted by Redstart at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bell's Knock Knock Birthday is a great one. It's Bell's birthday and on each page new community members come with food/gifts to share. Queer/trans* inclusive because it is part of the Flamingo Rampant project. You can also spot a new political poster on the wall each time someone new comes in, and you can see the next guests out the window.
posted by anya32 at 9:27 AM on May 1, 2019

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All by Marilyn Burns has a one by one premise, and it's meant to be a read aloud for math class when kids are learning about multiplication and arrays!
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:29 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Hobbit is the one that springs to mind first. But all these sound good too! One Was Johnny is great.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:29 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ooh! And "The Doorbell Rang". Each ring of the doorbell brings more friends to share in the delicious cookies that the main character's mother has made! Another math book. :)
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

I think Moira’s Birthday by Robert Munsch would fit. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it.
posted by janepanic at 9:34 AM on May 1, 2019

A Bear Sat on My Porch Today by Jane Yolen is about a series of animals coming to relax on a child's front porch. Eventually the porch breaks but the animals work together to fix it.
posted by vunder at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2019

The "Birthday Soup" story in "Little Bear."
posted by metasarah at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2019

How odd. Just in the last few days, my 3.5-y-o has acquired and read repeatedly The Stephen Cartwright 123, which fits your description exactly.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:49 AM on May 1, 2019

One Monday Morning, which has the added charm of carefully depicting NYC c. 1967 as the backdrop.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another Jan Brett: Berlioz the Bear. Increasingly large animals come to help budge a mule and cartful of musicians, but the most relevant & best action here (as in many Brett books) is in the busy decorative side panels, where more and more animals show up & prepare an alpine town square for a party, arriving with chairs, flowers, bread baskets, etc.

Also: Green Eggs and Ham kinda fits this mold too. Though Sam-I-Am’s unnamed mark keeps declining the suggestions of dining companions, he’s ignored by the companions themselves, and by the illustrator; the mouse, the fox, the goat, the people from the train, etc., stay in the picture once introduced, and they’re all there at the moment when Sam-I-Am’s persistence and public shaming break his mark down utterly er, when the guy tries something new and finds he likes it.

posted by miles per flower at 9:53 AM on May 1, 2019

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub (and he won't get out).
posted by ericales at 9:55 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Gruffalo is kind of the amusing reverse of this, in that the series of animals invites the mouse to join them for a meal and are all turned down.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2019

So Much by Trish Cooke is about a family arriving one by one and happily greeting the baby.
posted by tangosnail at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2019

Aw, I'm so happy that this question got me to remember Miss Twiggly's Tree, which is about a delightfully strange woman who lives in a tree. Her neighbors don't much like her, but imagine what happens when a big flood hits town, and all the houses are inundated but the tree is dry...
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:17 AM on May 1, 2019

You Must Wear a Hat kind of comes at this from an angle. (Bonus: here's a video of Tom Hardy reading it aloud.)
posted by Lexica at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Miss Spider's Tea Party is something like that. Each page features an increasing number of different bug types that are refusing to come to the titular tea party, though (spoiler alert), they all gather together at the end.
posted by subocoyne at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2019

The Enormous Potato
posted by yawper at 11:09 AM on May 1, 2019

Alligator Arrives With Apples by Crescent Dragonwagon works this way, each page has a guest with a name and food from the next letter in the alphabet.
posted by hungrytiger at 11:11 AM on May 1, 2019

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant?
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton is a multi-generational favorite in my family. You can see it read here (it's short).

Edit: Which I see on more careful preview has been mentioned twice already!
posted by merriment at 11:44 AM on May 1, 2019

In It Could Always Be Worse, a family in a crowded shack takes a series of animals inside. (Spoiler: At the end, they remove the animals and the house doesn't seem so crowded.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Popcorn, by Frank Asch. (the premise is a Halloween party; the gimmick is that every guest brings ... popcorn!)
posted by misterbrandt at 12:14 PM on May 1, 2019

Peggy Rathman has a couple that I think fit what you're asking for. In 10 Minutes Till Bedtime more and more hamsters keep arriving to tour a boy's house in the ten minutes before bedtime. In Goodnight Gorilla the eponymous gorilla snags the zookeeper's keys and follows him through the zoo releasing a new animal on each page. At the end all the animals secretly follow the zookeeper home to bed.
posted by Kriesa at 12:17 PM on May 1, 2019

In I've Lost My Cat, the protagonist goes looking for their cat, who is (IIRC) round, yellow, and whose name is Greyling. People bring him all manner of animals who are various combinations of these features, and he agrees to take each one in even though it isn't his cat.

(Once he goes to bed "with worries in his head", his house full of animals but sad because there's still no cat, his cat shows up, as cats do.)
posted by clawsoon at 12:23 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Little Bear - Birthday Soup. He makes soup for his friends for his birthday and his friends arrive one by one each with a food item to contribute.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2019

This is pretty common in Pete the Cat - a lot of them featuring that sort of menagerie of friends one by one thing. There's a million of them now - look them up on Amazon to check the plot lines for ones with his friends.

Pete the Cat Robo Pete (Which friend can play?)
Pete the Cat and the New Guy (What does he like to do? Play X like Y? And they go around to various friends).
posted by jrobin276 at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2019

If non-food non-home plots work, there's a Ladybug Girl book ("Who Can Play?") where first she's by herself at a playground, which is fun for the slide but the seesaw doesn't really do much without a friend, then another kid comes and they can do the seesaw but not jump-rope, and so on.
posted by teremala at 2:21 PM on May 1, 2019

The Wrong Book by Nick Bland is like this, a boy attempts to tell a story but it keeps getting interrupted by other characters.
posted by smoke at 2:27 PM on May 1, 2019

And, speaking of Gruffalo, their other book Room on the Broom fits this motif straight. New animals keep joining the witch and her cat on their broom, until it breaks!
posted by teremala at 2:28 PM on May 1, 2019

Given your username, I think you might enjoy the fabulous 365 Penguins where a new penguin arrives on a family's doorstep every day of the year, sent by an uncle living in the Antarctic who is trying to save them all.
posted by humuhumu at 2:53 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Stone Soup is the obvious answer here. It's an old folk tale so it's been told in books by various authors.
posted by w0mbat at 3:45 PM on May 1, 2019

I've got a fictional example: Episode 81 of the horror podcast The Magnus Archives features a children's book titled A Guest for Mr. Spider, about all the various beings who visit the titular Mr. Spider. It's...unnerving.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2019

No Jumping On The Bed is sort of like this, but the kid is falling through floors in an apartment building and gathering new people from each floor. It’s very lyrical and fun to read (for me anyway).
posted by JenMarie at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2019

The Tiger Who Came to Tea kind of covers this, plus it's a lovely book.

Eeyore's birthday party in Winnie the Pooh may also count.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 3:29 AM on May 2, 2019

In Just Enough and Not Too Much, the protagonist starts with the right amount of things, but then ends up with too many chairs, hats, stuffed animals (because more must be better, right?). It ends with him having all of his friends over for a party and they each take home the chair they sit in and the hat they were given to wear and a stuffed animal.

Similar premise in Mole Had Everything by Jamison Odone, where a friend tells Mole he doesn't have enough stuff and he goes out and stuffs his home so full he can't use it. It ends with a bit giveaway of things, but he keeps just enough to have tea with a friend.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:36 AM on May 2, 2019

I came in to say "The Doorbell Rang". It's included in "Creative Curriculum" (the set that is used at many pre-schools these days). My 3-5 year olds like it, though the 5 year olds got the concept better. Bonus: It's a starting point for talking about "division" (though the kids don't know that's what they're doing) as well as sharing.

This year was my first time reading it, and I thought it was super cute. And, hey, COOKIES!!
posted by kathrynm at 9:50 AM on May 2, 2019

I seem to recall The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base having this concept. Also, it’s an incredible book.
posted by Night_owl at 10:29 AM on May 2, 2019

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