A Birthday Cake Is No Ordinary Cake

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Welcome aboard our spinning Earth as it travels on its immense journey around the Sun. Bring a bowl—and come along! Help collect the ingredients for a cake as big as a year, and see how every circle around the Sun . . . equals one. One what? One birthday cake!
For fifteen years, On the Day You Were Born has been the classic book to welcome new babies ...

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0152057420 9780152057428

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Welcome aboard our spinning Earth as it travels on its immense journey around the Sun. Bring a bowl—and come along! Help collect the ingredients for a cake as big as a year, and see how every circle around the Sun . . . equals one. One what? One birthday cake!
For fifteen years, On the Day You Were Born has been the classic book to welcome new babies into the world. Now, this jubilant companion celebrates every year thereafter in the life of a child—and of our great green planet Earth.
Includes delicious cake and frosting recipes, explanations of how the years are marked in nature, and a section called "How many days to your birthday?" so kids can actually find their own special day.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers who think they're in for a celebration of smeared frosting and blowing out the candles may be surprised to find instead Fraser's (On the Day You Were Born) New Age musings on what a birthday cake means. "So hold on, bakers!," exhorts Fraser, as she proceeds, in full gym-instructor mode, to show the earth orbiting around a massive sun, rendered in a confetti-like spray of triangles and circles. "We're riding the Earth in a great spinning circle around the Sun, from your birthday to your next birthday.... You will need exactly 364 more sunrises, all clouds included." Metaphorically speaking, that means gathering up a year's worth of seasonally themed ingredients (e.g., "the sound of a returning red robin, singing. Simply open the window. Your bowl will catch it"). The cut-paper collages depict a toque-wearing, angelic-looking chef combining the fanciful ingredients with a wave of a wooden spoon; every few pages, Fraser returns readers to the perspective of an orbiting earth to underscore her theme. While her deep thoughts may not appeal to all readers, Fraser deserves plaudits for prompting youngsters to think of their birthday as more than an opportunity for presents. Recipes for a basic yellow cake plus vanilla and chocolate frostings round out this upbeat lesson. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
On her daughter's first birthday, Frasier wrote, "She's finished her first circle around the Sun, and now she's one." This thought later gave rise to a picture book that celebrates the passage of the year between birthdays and all the natural wonders that entails. This journey is shown as it applies to a birthday cake that is created through a combination of a celebration of nature as it changes through the seasons, and the traditional baking method. The discussion of seasons, calendar terms, and the relationship between the sun and the earth make this a great book to introduce and address these topics in the classroom. There is also a brief discussion of how the passage of time is marked by circles in a one-page afterword. The book includes recipes for the cake and frosting described in the book. The illustrations are bright, whimsical, and cute. The major drawbacks of this text are that the narrative itself never achieves the lyrical smoothness of the line that inspired the book, and the connection between a child's birthday cake and the passage of one year may be a leap that takes very young kids a while to make. The text has nice lyrical moments, but they're stilted by the insertion of jarring phrases. Overall, it's a fun, unique book that may be a difficult text for young readers to fully immerse themselves in.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A baker invites readers to savor a year by starting at any chosen date and assembling a fanciful (or real) birthday cake to celebrate the Earth's journey and their own. The recipes begin by having children collect the first sunrise after their birthdays and gather a host of nature's ingredients such as the sounds of a returning red robin, 12 full silver moons, a south-flying bird's shadow, and the sound of snowflakes falling. After collecting 364 more sunrises, the baker adds traditional cake ingredients. Pop-off-the-page, vibrant-colored cut-paper collage illustrations capture the fanciful and factual concepts. The back matter includes recipes for both cakes and frosting. The last page gives information about "Counting Circles," and Frasier suggests that counting the rings of a tree's cross section is like counting birthday candles on a cake. This unique book blends a melodic, metaphorical look of nature with scientific topics. It is perfect for one-on-one sharing and is sure to prompt discussion. Frasier's many fans will appreciate this thoughtful offering.-Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
There's no treacle in the actual recipe included, but there's plenty elsewhere in another birthday-celebration book from the author/illustrator of On the Day You Were Born (1991). In a very loose m‚lange of earth science and cookery, a birthday cake is the symbolic product of a physical year. Readers are instructed to collect snippets of the seasons-robins' songs, falling stars "the sound of two shivers"-in a bowl, and then, with the addition of more expected ingredients, to bake a cake. There's a soup‡on of confusion about the actual span from one birthday to the next (is it 364 or 365 days?), and the metaphor may be a muddle for mud-pie makers of a more literal mind, but Frasier's cheerful cut-paper-collage pictures are pleasing, and the cake actually tested nicely. In an effort to fold a bit of hard science into what sometimes seems a bit like a greeting card, a concluding page makes reference to tree rings and Bristlecone pines and presents a map of the solar year. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152057428
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

DEBRA FRASIER is the creator of Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster and its companion, The Incredible Water Show, as well as Out of the Ocean and the bestselling classic On the Day You Were Born. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Beautiful explanation of the earth going around the sun!

    I bought this book for my K/1 classroom. Wonderful! I love the idea of the book and the illustrations. I recreated the craft associated with this book on the author's website as a bulletin board with all of the children's birthdays.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    AKeepsake in the Debra Frasier Tradition

    I have enjoyed the tradition of purchasing Debra Frasier's ON THE DAY YOU WERE BORN for the newborn babies among my family and friends. This book, BIRTHDAY CAKE IS NO ORDINARY CAKE, is a perfect birthday marker as the child grows.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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