Alfie and the Birthday Surprise


Alfie suggests throwing a surprise party to cheer up their neighbour, Bob, whose cat has just died. As well as cake, there’s a special surprise for Bob, and it’s up to Alfie to look after it until the big day!

The death of Bob's cat prompts his friends and family to give him a surprise birthday party and a very special present.

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Alfie suggests throwing a surprise party to cheer up their neighbour, Bob, whose cat has just died. As well as cake, there’s a special surprise for Bob, and it’s up to Alfie to look after it until the big day!

The death of Bob's cat prompts his friends and family to give him a surprise birthday party and a very special present.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Since Alfie Gets in First (Lothrop, 1981) Alfie, his sister Annie Rose, and their neighbors the MacNallys from across the street have been old friends of eager young reader/listeners. Hughes's series of stories about everyday family life in England have been perennial favorites. This story deals with a more serious theme than the others do, Mr. MacNally's grief at the loss of the family cat. Alfie grieves too, but then helps come up with a happy solution for his friend. Hughes retains her personal style, mixing vignettes of multiple actions with fuller, more detailed scenes. Her characters are genuine, believable people, portrayed in fully modeled illustrations brimming with individual personalities. They charm us with their depiction of the everyday, exuding a sense of humanity at its best.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
The MacNally's, who live across the street from Alfie and his family, have an old cat named Smoky. Bob MacNally was especially fond of the cat. When Smoky dies in his sleep, Bob has a difficult time adjusting to his death. Although his birthday is coming up soon, he tells his wife and daughter that he does not want any presents. When Alfie hears about this he suggests that a party might cheer Bob. Both families decide it should be a surprise. The biggest surprise is a new kitten that spends the night before the party with Alfie. All ends happily, with Bob enjoying the kitten and naming him "Boots." Warm, realistic illustrations accompany this story. Ordinary events in the life of a preschooler become extraordinary in this author's hands. Readers will experience the pain of loss and the joy and wonder of new life. Hughes captures the feelings of childhood, especially the egocentric world of the preschooler with the last lines of the story: "Alfie and Boots became great friends. Alfie was quite sure that Boots remembered how once . . . he had slept a whole night on the end of Alfie's bed." Delightful.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2When Bob MacNally's cat dies, he is so sad that he doesn't even want to celebrate his 52nd birthday. His daughter, Maureen, and their irrepressible preschool neighbor Alfie decide to cheer Bob up by throwing a surprise party. The day before the event, Maureen gets her father a kitten. In order to keep her present a surprise, Alfie hides it overnight in his bedroom but finds it tough to sleep while the curious animal explores and plays. This is an endearing story about friendship. The death aspect is understated and does not overwhelm the story or Alfie himself. The illustrations are muted with clear lines set against soft backgrounds and feature Hughes's familiar cherublike characters. Purchase where the other books about Alfie are popular.Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Alfie (The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook, 1992, etc.) is back, and this time he wants to cheer up his neighbor, Bob MacNally, whose old gray cat, Smoky, has died. Bob's birthday is coming up, but his daughter Maureen says he's so down he doesn't want any presents, not even cards. It's Alfie's idea to make a surprise party for him. A flurry of shopping and cake-baking ensues, but the best surprise is Maureen's present—a kitten. She entrusts it to Alfie's care for the night before the party, and he is proud to play such an important role. This warm-hearted slice of real life is as good as any of the Alfie books; it is from the boy's perspective that readers see that Smoky was not a very satisfactory cat, making "bad-tempered noises" whenever Alfie picked him up. Alfie comprehends, however, how much Bob misses the cat, and finds the finality of Smoky's death sad. Hughes's trademark illustrations capture, as always, the homey details of family life in a neighborhood where the kindness of others plays a large part in everyday events. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781862307872
  • Publisher: Red Fox
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Series: Alfie
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,397,194
  • Age range: 4 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley Hughes has written more than 200 books, creating enduring characters like Alfie and Dogger, who have thrilled children and adults alike with their tales of growing up and everyday discovery. Her many awards include the Kate Greenaway Medal and the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award for her services to children's literature.

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