EY Info
TNL Jobs
Content FilterS
Reset Filters
The latest and best ideas in early years
Early Years Info
All about the sector, from A - Z
Tools, plans and resources to use everyday
Activity Plans
Filter by EYFS area & children's ages
Hear from interesting sector colleagues
Up-skill, gain knowledge and develop
New Year
New Year's Content
Policy Packs
Section for downloadable and updating TNL policies
Book Review: ‘If I Had a....’ Series

By Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow

Thames & Hudson Publishing

If you would like to win these books, among a host of amazing prizes, for your setting then get on over to our #TNLbookoftheyear competition!

The ‘If I had a…’ series is an entertaining and creative selection of stories that will capture the imagination of any child.

Most people will remember being a child and wishing for an unrealistic pet that would give you hours of adventure and the most unforgettable memories; these stories bring these wishes to life.

If I Had a Dinosaur, as the name suggests, explores what it would be like to have a dinosaur as a pet. In this book you are encouraged to ponder such questions as whether he would roar or bark, what it would be like to take him to school, and what you would have to feed him. You will see the dinosaur stamp his way through the story and attempt to fit within the pages in this both fun and unusual book.

If I had a sleepy sloth follows the pattern as the first, although prepare for things to slow down a notch or two as you explore the idea of having a sloth as a pet. Plodding through this book at a sloth’s pace, you learn some interesting facts about them, as the reader is introduced to some leisurely activities that you could only do with a pet who moves slower than a snail. The mellow and relaxed tone will help any child settle down ready for bed, where they can dream of their own sleepy sloth, or do their own best interpretation of one!

In If I Had a Unicorn children are able to explore what it would be like to have a magical pet. This story is a great spur to the imagination as you consider what enchanting activities you might get up to if you only had a unicorn by your side. From eating candy floss and other deliciously sweet treats, to galloping through supermarkets and flying through the sky, each page is filled with wonder and delight. A whole host of magical characters is introduced, allowing children to mull over the endless possibilities of what could happen if you were to come across these mythical beings.


Each book brings its own thrills and intrigue, and are a great encouragement to the imaginations of young children. The simple yet colourful illustrations draw you in to every page. The engaging language and rhymes hold the attention of the reader with ease, as does the straightforward structure of the stories. The selection of popular subject matter means that if all three don’t tickle your fancy, it’s a guarantee at least one of these books will. Each one is a captivating read and are highly recommended either as an enjoyable series, or as charming individual stories. If you’re in doubt about a last-minute stocking filler, you could do worse than one of these!