Happy Birthday? Happy Anniversary?
My blog turns 2 years old tomorrow, but I think that is really more of an anniversary than a birthday. However, my birthday is right around the corner and that (and the arrival of Helen Oxenbury's new book, It's My Birthday!) got me thinking. As a bookseller, I am frequently asked for kid's books that feature birthdays. Believe it or not, there are very few picture books that feature birthdays and are good to give to the birthday boy or girl. There are a handful more books that have birthdays as the central plot, but it is not always the main character's birthday. Because of this, I usually feel helpless to recommend just the right book.
There are few new books coming out and I did a bit of digging and managed to find three different sets of books that are all excellent, if not always perfect for the occasion. So, tomorrow's post will be dedicated to reviews of these books for toddlers, picture books and chapter books and will feature a new label: BIRTHDAY THEME. However, I think that perfect birthday book is just waiting to be written and maybe you have it rattling around inside of you!
While looking for pictures of birthday cakes to add to this post I found this AMAZING cake (which I could not even begin to imagine eating) and it reminded me of one of my favorite books from my childhood, Under a Mushroom by Anita Lobel, illustrator of the Caldecott winning book On Market Street, written by her late husband, Arnold Lobel, and author and illustrator of many of her own books.
Published in 1970, this book definitely has time specific look to it. I have always had a love of little things, dolls especially, and was completely charmed by this story of a tiny troll family living under a mushroom and the rainy day that changes their lives. I am so grateful to still have this book in my possession, tattered as it is.
This book led me a bit further down the lane to Teddy Bear's Book of 1 2 3, pictured above. I was enchanted by this book as well when I was a child (and the Lonely Doll series of photo-essay picture books by Dare Wright which, as an adult, I now find odd and a bit freaky) I even recreated the party from the book one year for my older son (when he was turning four) with an array of stuffed animals and curling ribbon and a tiny cake made from cookies.
If you have any books from your childhood that hold special memories for you, especially if they are old, out of print, and you still have your battered old copy, I would love to walk down memory lane with you and dedicate a whole post to your memories, so please share your thoughts and photos with me via email! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And, as I said last year when I celebrated my one year anniversary:
It has been a joy knowing that I am not writing in a vacuum, although I think that, given the choice to write in a vacuum or never write again, I would opt for the vacuum. Your comments and ensuing book discussions have been both food for thought and fuel for reviews. Thank you to everyone who has introduced me to a new book or steered me in a new direction.