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by Kate Stone, illustrated by Kate Stone

Age Range: 1 - 3

Pub Date: March 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4494-0838-1
Publisher: Accord

Friends make a birthday sweet.

The animals celebrate their little companion's special day with familiar activities. Octopus decorates the yard, while Bear gives Mouse his presents, and Rabbit passes out refreshments. Straightforward statements convey action but little excitement. A few quirky details spice up the illustrations, though (Rabbit rocks some stylish flip-flops). The rodent's presents befit a mousey sensibility, with blocks of cheese fresh for the nibbling. Though the design appears initially intriguing, its unusual construction fails the audience. Pages open left, then right, then left again, die-cut edges overlapping slightly so that each composition leads to the next, with slight variations. A Velcro circle (too small for long-term durability) holds the cover in place. It is a challenge to restore the pages to the original order, creating a developmentally confusing reading experience for toddlers. Moreover, forcing the scenes to close out of order, as seems inevitable in the hands of a toddler, is hard on the spine.

Though superficially appealing, this party is a dud. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)