When his mother asks about school, Ronald responds, ""I have two bad things to tell. I have no school birthday and no best friend."" But classmates, teachers and his mom plan a surprise birthday party and contrive to get him not only the longed-for puppy but a best friend, too. The cheerful watercolor and pen illustrations show ethnically mixed children and teachers in lively interaction. Smiles, pouts, anger, secrets, dismay--all the emotions and expressions so close to the surface in the young child are aptly presented. Gift has a wonderful ear for dialogue and a feel for the catastrophes that loom so large in the world of the young child. Warm, sad, joyful and funny, children six and seven will empathize with Morgan's trials. An excellent choice for beginning readers who are just outgrowing the controlled vocabulary of easy readers.