I Got You A Present! (Mike Erskine-Kellie)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Got You A Present!, written by Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan, illustrated by Cale Atkinson.

Happy birthday! There’s a party all ready for you, complete with cake, a gathering of adorable animal friends, and of course, PRESENTS! Your eager friend Duck explains that he wanted to get you the greatest present ever, something that strikes the perfect balance of amazing, unexpected, and something you’ll love. However, with every attempt at the perfect gift, he hits a bump: knitting socks? Very tricky. Inventing an apple juice-fueled jet pack? He’s still working out the kinks. A pet dinosaur? Surprisingly difficult to find. After a plethora of attempts at the perfect gift for you, the poor duck is stymied – until he thinks of a gift that’s just the ticket.

Delightful! This simple, silly, and creatively meta tale is an unexpected treat. Duck eventually decides that the story of his search for a present is the perfect present itself, and “gifts” the reader a physical copy in the penultimate spread (the cover a duplicate of the very book the reader is currently holding). This clever twist and the ridiculous antics of the Duck that precede it are full of light, playful visual gags, accompanied by conversational, matter-of-fact text that is fun to read aloud. The length is perfect for a quick storytime, and JJ really enjoyed the comedy, a repeating set up-then-punchline structure that gets funnier as the gifts escalate in preposterousness. This one is ready-made for birthdays, and would make a fantastic gift for any little reader. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

If You Had Your Birthday Party On The Moon (Joyce Lapin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If You Had Your Birthday Party On The Moon, written by Joyce Lapin and illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli, an imaginative “what-if” for the ultimate destination celebration.

If you had your birthday party on the moon, you’d have your pick of unique birthday experiences: the day would last 709 hours, for one. You would get to experience weightlessness on the trip there, bounce around in 1/6 the gravity of earth, make “moondust-angels”, and dine on chocolate pudding cake from a pouch. With a focus on the science of astronomy and astronautics, the text takes the reader through detailed explanations of why the sky would be black rather than blue, why they wouldn’t be able to hear their guests singing happy birthday, and why playing baseball on the moon may be a little time-consuming – yet why a birthday party on the moon would be an adventure like no other.

Awesome! Lapin’s theoretical text does an amazing job of making the scientific concepts she explains accessible by cleverly framing it around familiar experiences; she uses things like piñatas and gymnastics to explain low gravity, and subtly weaves in the idea that party-goers would have plenty of time to revel on the three-day trips to and from the moon. Insets with more information, facts, and statistics give a more in-depth look without dragging the story down, also a smart choice. The illustrations are wonderful, populating majestic moonscapes with a pleasantly diverse cast of kids whose joy is practically palpable. The length may be better suited to older kids, but JJ sat through the main story and loved the illustrations. A wonderful imagining that succeeds in bringing STEM to life and adds birthday cake; who could resist? Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Happy Birthday, Cupcake! (Terry Border)

Hello, friends! It’s JJ’s birthday today, so we’ve picked a birthday book to review: Happy Birthday, Cupcake! by Terry Border.

It’s Cupcake’s birthday, and she is eager to throw the perfect party for herself and all her food friends. She goes for a long walk with her best pal Muffin to brainstorm themes, but they just can’t seem to settle on the right one. Cupcake suggests the beach, but Muffin points out that some of their friends might get melty. Maybe a boat trip? No good – Soup gets seasick. Frosting and sprinkle makeovers? Fun for the deserts, but not Hamburger’s cup of tea. Cupcake is flummoxed – she wants an awesome party, but it should be one that everyone enjoys! But when they arrive at Muffin’s house, she’ll find that it’s the people you share it with that make a perfect party.

Excellent! Border’s wonderfully whimsical photographs pair with food pun-filled text to tell a story that is clever, funny, and has a great lesson. I loved that from the start, Cupcake wanted to focus of her party to be everyone having fun, not just her; it’s a good reminder to little ones that good company is what makes a celebration a success (and might also remind stressed-out parents like me that the details of the party don’t matter as much as everyone enjoying themselves, host included). The photos are colorful and eye-catching, and filled with hilarious details and sight-gags that will please all ages. The length is fine, and JJ had a blast pointing out all the different types of food. A scrumptious birthday book for all ages, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

When’s My Birthday? (Julie Fogliano)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When’s My Birthday?, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Christian Robinson, a fun and festive book about birthdays that asks the important questions.

When is my birthday? Where is my birthday? Is it in spring? In winter? I know there will be cake, and presents, and you can wear fancy clothes and costumes, and we’ll play games and have balloons. I’ll ask for a pony, or maybe a chicken, or maybe a bouncy ball. Oh! There will need to be candles on the cake! And chocolate! And how many days until my birthday, again?

This one was a lot of fun, and felt wonderfully fresh compared to other books about birthdays. Told in free verse, the text is simple, engaging, and fun to read, and celebrates all the best things about birthdays: food, fun, presents and friends. Robinson’s signature paper-and-paint art is as endlessly charming as always, the length is great, and JJ and I had a lot of fun with it. A delightfully contemporary book that can enjoyed year-round, but especially you-know-when. Baby Bookworm approved!

Happy Birthday To You! (Dr. Seuss)

Hello, friends! As you may know, it’s JJ’s birthday today! And to celebrate, we are reading Happy Birthday To You! by Dr. Seuss, a birthday celebration as only Seuss can provide.

In the far-off land of Katroo, birthdays are a grand affair. First, the birthday horn on the hill plays you a birthday song. Then, the Birthday Bird (which only exists in Katroo) comes to your home to wake you up and whisk you away to a day-long celebration filled with treats, games, flowers, music and fun. After all, without birthdays, there would be no You, and that wouldn’t do! So birthdays are the day to celebrate you, and that is just what they do in Katroo.

Seuss books are always classics, and this one is tons of fun. Filled with signature rhymes and surrealist illustrations, it’s everything you expect from a birthday book with Seuss’ name on the cover: strange worlds, bizarre animals, and tongue-twisting rhymes with delightful made-up words and phrases. The length may be stretching it for little bookworms, but JJ enjoyed it fine (and for the youngest readers, there’s a shorter interactive version of this book that we reviewed last year called Happy Birthday, Baby!). All in all, a fun and nonsensical way to celebrate a little one’s birthday, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!