McGrath welcomes readers of this latest celebratory offering to a birthday party, where objects such as treats from a piñata, presents, candles, and friends offer counting opportunities, from six balloons down to one goody bag filled with candy.
The festive illustrations and bold images are colorful, and the simple text set in large white type has little rhythm. “5 / Breaking the piñata is fun. Five treats fall out.” The five children in the book have skin colors ranging from white to brown, but the expressions on their faces are exactly the same. The four candles on the birthday cake may not correspond to the age of the child reading this simple and basic board book, offering a point of confusion. Cut in the shape of a birthday cake with four candles, this book also suffers from the same cropping issues that have plagued other books in the First Celebrations series, resulting in balloons that are incomplete and gouging into the children’s heads. To give 1- or 2-year-old children a birthday book they can really enjoy, count on Karen Katz’s Where Is Baby’s Birthday Cake? (2008) or Jo Lodge’s Happy Birthday, Mr. Croc! (2015).
Cutesy but insubstantial—this is one to skip. (Board book. 9 mos.-2)