Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top 5 birthday picturebooks I nicked off of Manukau Library's shelves

List by Tosca

"Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional."
- Chili Davis

I hate birthdays. Today is my birthday. Therefore, today is my Happy Hated Birthday. (Thanks, Robyn, for giving it this name). I quite happily celebrate other people's birthdays. After all, what's not to like about cake, right? Ordinarily, though, I'm not a fan of my own birthday. It isn't that I mind getting older. That bit I can live with. It's the constant, nagging feeling I carry that I'm not ready to be a responsible adult just yet. I want to be able to eat cornflakes for dinner, eat icecream on my un-birthday, splash in puddles on rainy days, sing along to my iPod on the bus and refuse to do things when I'm cranky and tired. That sounds like so much more fun than paying bills, babysitting, writing reports, eating sensibly and being considerate all of the time :) This quick list is my top 5 pick of birthday-themed picturebooks I nicked off of Manukau Library's shelves. They remind me that a childish delight in things - no matter your age - is sometimes necessary to navigating life. You'll probably see a couple of posts from me today. No doubt, both of them will contain a sense of the ridiculous. Something about my birthday brings that out in me. Here's to the ridiculously happy hated birthday!



Not last night but the night before / Colin McNaughton ; illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
Happy birthday to you
Squashed tomatoes and stew
Bread and butter in the gutter
Happy birthday to you!


Not last night but the night before, everyone knocked at the little boy's door, they knocked him down when he let them in, but was there a big surprise for him? Ages 2+

Tosca's comment: I first thought this title referred to King's creepy 'The tommyknockers' novel where the rhyme 'Not last night but the night before, tommyknockers, tommyknockers knocking at my door' takes on a scary meaning. However, it's a child's picturebook, so no gore and horror found within. Although, you know, horrors and birthdays...maybe not so farfetched, after all.

Big Brown Bear's birthday surprise / David McPhail
"...today is someone's birthday," explained Rat.
"Someone I know?" asked Bear.
"Yes," answered Rat. "Someone you know very well."
"Oh, Rat," cried Big Brown Bear, "it's your birthday!"
"Not mine, Bear," said Rat. "It's yours!"


An excited Bear mistakenly believes that Rat has given him a boat for his birthday.

Tosca's comment: Big Brown Bear reminds me of Winnie the Pooh. Winnie was my most favourite of book characters as a child. He was never intentionally cruel, everything was a wonderful surprise, an adventure was waiting around every corner and he was a treasured friend. Just like Big Brown Bear. (Well, not my friend, Rat's friend, but you get what I mean. I hope).

Witchy goes shopping / by Dianne Boles ; illustrated by Aki Fukuoka
By this time, Witchy was feeling quite upset, so she made a cup of nettle tea, and sat down at the kitchen table to think.
Very soon she had an idea. Shopping! Yes, she would go shopping.


It's Witchy's birthday so she decides to make some special party food but the cupboard is bare, and she can't remember the magic word to restock it. Witchy decides to go to the supermarket and on arrival discovers she has left her glasses behind so has to peer closely at everything. When she gets home Witchy finds that, although she doesn't have what she came for, she does have the ingredients for a lovely party. Ages 3+

Tosca's comment: Witchy gets upset when she can't remember the magic word. So what does she do? Goes shopping! Even witches need retail therapy, apparently. Witchy's shopping list of toads, spiders, squashed bumble bees & squiggly worms sums up what I'd like to serve for my own birthday dinner.

Hooray! There's a hippopotamus on our roof having a birthday party / by Hazel Edwards ; illustrated by Deborah Niland
There's a hippopotamus on our roof eating cake, and it's his birthday, too.
We are going to have our party together.
A jungle party. And all our friends can come in animal costumes.


Join in the fun as the hippopotamus on the roof celebrates his birthday. Ages 2+

Tosca's comment: There isn't a hippopotamus on my roof celebrating its birthday. A part of me wishes that there was, though...

Don't spill the beans! / Ian Schoenherr
Don't spill the beans!
Don't let it slip!
Don't give it away!
Just button your lip!


Bear's got a secret. What could it be? Could it have something to do with you? A bear tries hard to keep a birthday surprise a secret. Ages 3+

Tosca's comment: Large, colourful text and incredibly cute creatures! Who could resist those adorable expressions? And I like the last couple of pages - who were they keeping a secret from? ME!

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