A gift book featuring an expanded version of the “Happy Birthday” song with new verses, accompanying illustrations, and even a button to push that plays a recording of the familiar song.
The button is embedded in the front cover, so readers can push it to play the song before opening the book. It’s sung by an a cappella chorus of apparently untrained voices, and the sound quality is quite poor, but at least it does not have the tinny sound that many such chips do. Once readers open the book, they’ll see a page ready for personalization reading “Dear__________ Today you’re turning________! With much love,_____________.” The opening text featuring the familiar verse of the song also leaves a blank line where one might fill in a name. Accompanying brightly colored, festive, cartoon-style illustrations feature anthropomorphic animals singing, dancing, and celebrating. Ensuing new lyrics—about friends, cake, cards, gifts, clowns, balloons, and so on—could all be sung to the opening verse’s tune. Humor seems to poke gentle fun at different ages, with adults turning down loud music, a little bear saying “I am this many” as it holds up two fingers, and an elderly badger saying “I am 80 years young.” There’s no story to follow here, which ends up making it read rather like an expanded birthday card rather than a book.
A suitably festive deployment of the familiar song, now safely in the public domain. (Picture book. 3-adult)