Big Birthday

( 3 )


Annabelle was tired of birthdays at the zoo.
She yawned at the monkeys and the baby kangaroo.
"My birthday is soon. It's practically here.
I think I'll have my party on the moon this year."

Annabelle is determined to have a birthday party that stands out from the rest. The moon seems like the perfect spot!...

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Annabelle was tired of birthdays at the zoo.
She yawned at the monkeys and the baby kangaroo.
"My birthday is soon. It's practically here.
I think I'll have my party on the moon this year."

Annabelle is determined to have a birthday party that stands out from the rest. The moon seems like the perfect spot! But wearing spacesuits and partying in a place with no air create some challenges that Annabelle didn't expect. Will her out-of-this-world birthday still be a blast?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jayme Derbyshire
Annabelle is on a mission to have one of her best birthdays yet. She is tired of the typical kid birthdays with a trip to the zoo or a magician. With a fierce determination and a reliance on her parental persuasive tactics, she plans on hosting a party in a most unexpected place. Annabelle decides that a party on the moon would be out of this world in more ways than one. Annabelle quickly comes to the realization that her far out idea brings about a lot of potential problems. Annabelle learns that while the idea of a party on the moon sounds fantastic, it turns out that the moon is not all that conducive to birthday parties. In conclusion Annabelle decides that sometimes getting what one wishes for is not the best case scenario. With a lesson learned attitude, Annabelle decides that her very own backyard will be the best venue for her next birthday. This book is fun and engaging. Annabelle has a goofy and endearing personality that forces readers to like her. This book rhymes and therefore makes it fun and easy to read aloud. The bright illustrations complement the text well. The illustrations have a range of textures, shadows, and bright colors coupled with mixed media collage that works well with the futuristic concept that this plot presents.
Kirkus Reviews
Annabelle's wish for an out-of-this-world birthday party crash-lands in Hosford's spirited, if slightly off-meter, book. What works are the whimsical illustrations. Clifton-Brown depicts Annabelle, her expressive, freckled face, with an ethereal glow that is at once childlike and celestial. Hosford does a fine job demonstrating Annabelle's determination to host a celebration that surpasses past parties at the zoo. However, constant shifts in meter are as jarring as a NASA warning: Reader, we have a problem. Annebelle says, "My birthday is soon. It's practically here. / I think I'll have my party on the moon this year," her words tilting in the meter of "Habenara" from Carmen. But later when the narrator declares, "They hired out an astronaut, experienced and smart, / Who rented them a rocket ship, guaranteed to start. […] / They shot into space with gravity pulling on everyone's face," the tempo misfires like opera at a rodeo. Readers will relate to Annabelle's birthday-bash struggle, and they will find the textural illustrations invigorating. But the clunky rhyme scheme frustrates repeat readings. While the illustrations maintain a harmonious duet with the story, the language stalls instead of soars. (Picture book. 5-8)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Annabelle is back, and she is tired of having her birthday at the zoo. This year she wants something completely different, so she begs to have a party on the Moon. After some initial hesitation, her parents hire an astronaut and rent a rocket ship, and the partygoers are on their way. But things do not go quite as Annabelle imagined. Her friends get bored on the long trip as their games are too hard to play in zero gravity. Once on the Moon, the hungry guests can't eat the cake because of their helmets, and it gets covered in moondust. After opening her presents, Annabelle tries on her favorite gift, a dress, but it rips going over her spacesuit. "'My birthday,' she cried, 'has become a big mess. I'm not having fun and neither are my guests!'" As they head home, Annabelle envisions next year's party—a trip to the backyard in a homemade purple pirate ship. Clifton-Brown's use of color, texture, shadow, and spot-on facial expressions with a bit of mixed-media collage thrown in is a delightful partner to the text. Varying fonts and text placement within the illustrations add a nice touch to the story. Hosford's rhyming text is fun to read, and kids will enjoy hearing about a great idea gone wrong.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761354109
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,270,349
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Hosford read constantly as a child, even reading through a school fire alarm at one point. She grew up in Waitsfield, Vermont, with lots of animals, including a miniature cow named Mini Moo. Kate attended Amherst College, and also spent a semester studying Buddhism in India.

Kate has worked as an adoption and foster care worker, a teacher and an illustrator, before turning to writing full time. She has taught in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. She is presently getting her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Chris, and her two sons, Charlie and Andreas. Kate enjoys singing and dancing with her boys. Her free time is spent trying to keep up with them!

Holly Clifton-Brown was born in London and attended Chelsea School of Art, Media, and Design and Bristol UWE Faculty of Art, Media and Design, where she attained a first class honors BA in Illustration. Her work has been exhibited at The London Transport Museum and in the 2008 Degree Show at the Conningsby Gallery. She is also the author and illustrator of Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza (Andersen Press USA).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVE Big Birthday!!!

    I fell in love with Hosford's plucky main character, Annabelle, in BIG BOUFFANT, and I wondered if Hosford would be able to match the creativity and fun of that story in BIG BIRTHDAY. Lucky for me, she totally did! The story about Annabelle's determination to have a VERY special birthday party is witty, energetic, and completely zany. (How could it not be zany? Annabelle decides -- and succeeds -- to have her party on the moon!) The rhyme is lively and easy to read, and the illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown are fabulous, with plenty of details to pick up on during repeated reads. I'm not a fan of treacly picture books with no plots all about how much everyone loves each other -- give me Annabelle's humorous, spirited, off-the-beaten-track story any day!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012


    I have to read it to my second graders this week. I liked it and may look into getting the first book by this author, depending on the kids' reactions.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    Big Birthday Big Success!

    Instead of didactically telling kids that they can dream big and achieve those dreams, Hosford and Clifton-Brown give us Annabelle, a girl who won't settle for mediocre. First, Annabelle creates her own unique style in Big Bouffant. Now, she plans a birthday bash unlike anything the world has ever seen. Watch out, world! Annabelle is a BIG-thinker! There is no limit to what she can accomplish.

    The rhyme is whimsical and fun to read, which is perfect because your precocious dreamers are going to ask you to read it A LOT! I know what I want for my birthday this year: A BIG bouffant birthday party, on the moon, of course!

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