Book Review: The Secret Birthday Message

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The Secret Birthday Message 

Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle 
Published September 1, 1991 by Harper Collins Children’s Books
Ages: 3-5, 26 pages 

Tim receives a birthday letter the night before his birthday with a secret message. The message has words, but the missing spaces are filled with shapes. The book follows the message with the first symbol, which is a moon. Similar to other Eric Carle books the pages have cut outs for more interaction. For example, there’s a triangle cut for the entrance to a cave, a circle to climb through, and a rectangle to peep through the door to see the birthday present. The final page has the entire path that followed the secret birthday message with arrows. The pictures are beautiful with bright and bold colors. Children can identify similar shapes in the room while reading.


Day 2 Birthday Book Celebration!


Happy Birthday to Me!!!

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Today’s my birthday, so I thought I’d give a week of birthday book cheer. Who doesn’t enjoy a great book for their birthday or reading about their day? And just one day is too few to celebrate.




Happy Birthday to You! 

Written and Illustrated by Dr. Seuss 
Published August 12, 1959 by New York: Random House
Ages: 6+
64 pages

This delightful Dr. Seuss book takes place in the town of Katroo where they sure know how to celebrate each birthday. Katroo is the only place with the Great Birthday Bird who awakes the birthday person and takes on a journey to enjoy their special day. Along the journey, they enjoy hot dogs rolled on a spool, pick the fanciest pet, greeted by Drummers and Strummers at the Birthday Pal-alace, and eat the only birthday cake made of guaranteed certified strictly Grade-A peppermint cucumber sausage-paste butter! (I’m not sure I’d like to taste that cake.) Happy Birthday to You! is slow at times, but it’s a fun book that’s sure to make you smile.

Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam! 
I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!
If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! 

– Dr. Seuss (Happy Birthday to You!)


Day 1 Birthday Book Celebration!

Book Review: Rhyme Time Valentine

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Rhyme Time Valentine

Written and Illustrated by Nancy Poydar 
Published August 28, 2002 by Holiday House 
Ages: 6-8, 32 pages 

Ruby loves Valentine’s Day and spends time making the perfect Valentine’s Day card with a special rhyme for her classmates. She lightly teases other students’ cards, since she can make perfect hearts and has already finished. She plans to wear all red on Valentine’s Day. Finally, on Valentine’s Day she bundles up for the cold weather and takes her homemade cards to school. However, the strong wind causes the cards to fly out of the bag. She arrives at school upset, but decides to make Valentine’s Day cards with the supplies in the classroom yet there’s no more red paper. She remembers the candy hearts from her parents and gives them to her classmates. Ruby learns that cards don’t need to be perfect, instead it’s the message that counts.

Rhyme Time Valentine is a sweet book with rhymes. If you’d like to remember making Valentine’s cards and passing them out to mailboxes in class then you’ll enjoy this book.


Book Review: Mouse’s First Valentine

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Mouse’s First Valentine 

Written by Lauren Thompson 
Illustrated by Buket Erdogan 
Published January 1, 2002 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Ages: 3-5, 32 pages 

Little Mouse follows big sister, Minka, around the house watching as she creates something. Mouse watches as Minka gets red paper, white lace, ribbon, and sticky glue. She carefully puts all the supplies together and ‘surprises’ Little Mouse with a Valentine’s Day card. I suggest this book for younger ages, because there are questions after Minka finds each item. The readers can guess what Minka found before turning the page. Children can make their own Valentine’s Day cards with simpler supplies. The illustrations appear as though they are painted on canvas. If you enjoyed Mouse’s First Valentine, you’ll be happy to know that Little Mouse is a series with many firsts.

Book Review: If You’ll Be My Valentine

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If You’ll Be My Valentine

Written by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Fumi Kosaka
Published December 1, 2005 by Harper Trophy 
Ages: 4-6, 32 pages 


If You’ll Be My Valentine begins each page with ‘If you’ll be my valentine…” then it gives a loving message that relates to the page. For example, a cat receives a scratch behind the ears, a dog gets to lick feet, a friend/sibling gets a story read to them, and a bird receives a song. There are a total of eleven unique Valentine messages. If You’ll Be My Valentine isn’t exactly a story, but it’s a cute book for young ages to appreciate and love all things and people. I also enjoyed this book, because the wording has a smooth flow and somewhat rhymes.




Book Review: Love, Splat

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Love, Splat 

Written and Illustrated by Rob Scotton 
Published December 1, 2008 by Harper Collins
Ages: 5-8
40 pages 

Splat is in love with a special cat in class named Kitten. Splat has problems, since his tummy always seems to rumble when Kitten is near. He’s not even sure if Kitten likes him, because she always pulls his ears, pokes his belly, calls him smelly, and then runs away. Splat is puzzled, but takes his special Valentine to school. The cats exchange their cards at school, but Splat decides to wait until after recess. Another cat, Spike, sees Splat’s Valentine card to Kitten then states that he also likes her. Splat and Spike proclaim each likes Kitten more. Finally, Splat sees Spike’s card to Kitten and feels awful because the card is bigger. Splat throws his card in the trash, but doesn’t realize that Kitten found the card and read it. Inside is a simple message: ‘I Like You.’ Splat also receives a Valentine’s Day card from Kitten with a poem and three little words: ‘I Like You’. I thought this was an adorable Valentine’s Day book. The book is humorous and  sweet. Rob Scotton wrote other Splat the Cat books.

Book Review: Love, Ruby Valentine

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Love, Ruby Valentine

Written by Laurie Friedman 
Illustrated by Avril Cravath 
Published June 15,2006 by Lerner Publishing Group
Ages: 6+, 32 pages 


Ruby Valentine’s favorite day is Valentine’s Day, since she loves telling everyone ‘I Love You’ and it’s the perfect fit for her name. Ruby Valentine lives in Heartland and even her bird is named Lovebird. She has big plans to celebrate for the entire town. Ruby Valentine bakes heart cookies and cake, makes glitter Valentine’s cards, and puts ribbons around goody bags. After counting down days she’s now exhausted and sleeps to prepare for the next day. However, when Ruby Valentine finally awakes it’s now February 15th. She feels awful that she’s missed Valentine’s Day and sadly puts things away for next year, but Lovebird peeps that they can still deliver the goods to town. Ruby Valentine is afraid that the people in Heartland will be upset, but she’s pleasantly surprised when the people rejoice as she shares her treats. Now Ruby Valentine tells people she loves them all year and each card is signed ‘Love, Ruby Valentine’. The entire book is written in a cute rhyme.

Ruby loved to say, “I Love you,” and she loved to say, “Be mine,” and she loved to sign her hearts and cards…Love, Ruby Valentine.

Laurie Friedman (Love, Ruby Valentine)