Scanlon delivers a sweet, rhyming text to tell the story of a little bunny’s birthday in Graegin’s debut picture book.
The succinct phrasing from page to page marks this as a text for very young children just learning about birthdays and birthday parties. The text takes a natural question-and-answer format as the birthday girl asks about each activity, and her mother offers loving replies. Scenes devoted to getting dressed up, greeting guests, celebrating with music and play, blowing out birthday-cake candles, opening gifts, taking pictures and looking back at past years provide an overview of the festivities. Perhaps taking a cue from the closing line’s reference to the girl as “sweet honey bun,” Graegin casts the unnamed central characters as a family of anthropomorphic bunnies, introducing a veritable peaceable kingdom of relatives and friends who come to celebrate on the special day. Graegin’s illustrations employ pencil-and-ink washes that are then digitally assembled and colored, and they mark her as an up-and-coming artist to watch, as they evoke a style akin to that of Peter McCarty, Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Polly Dunbar.
Happy birthday to a splendid book for new birthday boys and girls. (Picture book. 1-4)