of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly
theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin
feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin,
we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an
extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even
dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We
ask only that you cite the source. See the archive
from previous months.
Birthday Surprises: Birthday Dozens I
We've got a lot of office birthdays in November, so it seemed time to
do a birthday dozen; in fact, there were so many birthday books waiting
to be celebrated that this dozens focuses on a sub-theme, those
birthdays filled with surprise. While several titles here treat
the traditional surprise party, others involve other unexpected
birthday experiences; whether the surprises are pleasant or unpleasant,
all birthday celebrants eventually enjoy a happy day. Audiences
will do the same.
--selected by Deborah Stevenson, Editor
Linda. Maxwell’s Magic Mix-Up. Simon, 2001. 5-8
Rollicking rhyme tells the story of Louise’s birthday party,
where entertainer Maxwell the Magician has some mishaps that result in
his accidentally transforming birthday girl and guests and frantically
trying to reverse the spell. (BCCB 6/01)
- Cannon, A. E. Way Out West
with Pirate Pete and Pirate Joe; illus. by Elwood H. Smith.
Viking, 2006. Gr. 1-3
Pirate Joe may be initially sulking because his birthday has
been forgotten, but a rollicking adventure chasing after his and Pete’s
cowboy cousins results not only in a rootin’ tootin’ good time but also
a surprise party. (BCCB 7/06)
- Howe, James. Houndsley and
Catina and the Birthday Surprise; illus. by Marie-Louise Gay.
Candlewick, 2006. Gr. 1-3
The cat and dog pair of friends, both ignorant of their real
secretly plan to surprise each other with a surprise birthday treat in
this gentle easy reader. (BCCB 1/07)
- Hughes, Shirley. Alfie and
the Birthday Surprise; written and illus. by Shirley Hughes.
Lothrop, 1998. 3-7 yrs
Hughes’ warm tale of a close-knit neighborhood depicts
indomitable young Alfie as he plans a party to cheer up a grown
neighbor who’s just lost a beloved pet. (BCCB 3/98)
- Hurwitz, Johanna. Birthday
Surprises: Ten Great Stories to Unwrap. Morrow, 1995
Ten short stories by prominent writers revolve around a
common theme: the birthday gift of a beautifully wrapped but
empty box. (BCCB 5/95)
- Jonas, Ann. The Thirteenth
Clue; written and illus. by Ann Jonas. Greenwillow, 1992.
This clever puzzle of a picture book has both the narrator
and the audience following the clues to a waiting birthday party. (BCCB
- Kennemore, Tim. Alice’s
Birthday Pig; illus. by Mike Spoor. Eerdmans, 2008. Gr. 2-4
Middle child Alice, star of this early chapter book, hopes
desperately for a pet of her very own for her birthday. (BCCB
- Krosoczka, Jarrett J.
Annie Was Warned; written and illus. by Jarrett J.
Krosoczka. Knopf, 2003. 4-6 yrs
Halloween and birthday celebrations join forces in this tale
of Annie, dared by a friend to sneak into a local mansion on Halloween
night, only to find that “the best scare she’d ever had” is her own
surprise birthday party. (BCCB 9/03)
- Lopez, Loretta. Birthday
Swap; written and illus. by Loretta Lopez. Lee & Low,
1997. 5-9 yrs
A surprise birthday really is a surprise for Lori, whose
older sister has secretly swapped birthdays with Lori so that her
little sister can receive a big summertime celebration. (BCCB
- Noll, Sally. Surprise!;
written and illus. by Sally Noll. Greenwillow, 1997. 2-5
A simple rhyming countdown enumerates the joys of little
Rose’s birthday. (BCCB 9/97)
- Salley, Coleen.
Epossumondas Saves the Day; illus. by Janet Stevens. Harcourt,
2006. 4-7 yrs
High folkloric comedy reigns in this story of little opossum
Epossumondas, whose birthday celebrations are interrupted by a
character-eating ’gator until E. faces off with the reptile.
- Supraner, Robyn. Sam
Sunday and the Mystery at Ocean Beach Hotel; illus. by Will
Hillenbrand. Viking, 1996. 5-8 yrs
Sam Sunday, a hard-boiled bear detective, takes his mind off
the birthday his friends have apparently forgotten by investigating the
mysterious events at the local hotel—events that have more to do with
him than he suspects. (BCCB 9/96)
- Thomas, Shelley Moore.
Happy Birthday, Good Knight!; illus. by Jennifer Plecas. Dutton,
2006 Gr. 1-3
In this wry, entertaining repetitive easy reader, the
patient Good Knight returns to help his little trio of dragon charges
prepare to celebrate somebody's birthday—but whose?
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