Chloe's Birthday... And Me

Overview

I wish it were

my birthday,

I wish it were

my birthday....

But it's not. Giselle's birthday is almost a whole year away. It is her little sister Chloë's big day, and ...

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Overview

I wish it were

my birthday,

I wish it were

my birthday....

But it's not. Giselle's birthday is almost a whole year away. It is her little sister Chloë's big day, and Giselle knows what that means.

The cake won't be for Giselle.

The presents won't be for Giselle.

The card won't read, "Dear Giselle."

It's so unfair!

In this oh-too-true picture book set in France, find out how jealous one sister can get when her birthday-girl sis is the star for the day.

When attention must be paid to her little sister's birthday, Giselle, who lives with her family in France, makes inappropriate gift suggestions and almost spoils the big day. Based on the author's childhood memories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As the attention-seeking title suggests, older sibling Giselle resents the attention lavished on her sister Chloe, who is turning five. "Chloe was too little to even care that it was her birthday," she sulks, as she and her mother shop for a gift in the French village where they are vacationing. At the parfumerie, Giselle's mother buys a bottle of the fragrance "Chloe" and Giselle pretends the shopping bag belongs to her (" `Is there a perfume called Giselle?' I asked... but no one seemed to hear me"). On the big day, the family heads for the beach, where Giselle sneakily hides Chloe's perfume under the sand as "a fun game." In this follow-up to The Year I Didn't Go to School, Potter convincingly describes Giselle's envy and her guilty, absurd conduct when she realizes her mistake: " `Maybe we can smell where it is,' I said. Mom looked furious, so I... pretended to be an excited dog." The moon-faced characters, with their sidelong glances and Mona Lisa grins, convey a subtle range of feelings. Giselle's narration hints at her conflicted emotions; she playfully distracts Chloe from the missing item, and her selfishness changes to relief when the birthday girl unearths her surprise. Potter's sepia-toned watercolors-pale skin, rinsed-out-yellow sand, blue-gray water-give this novelistic tale the quiet quality of reminiscence. Ironically-or apologetically?-the book comes complete with a birthday card for some generous giver. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The second in an autobiographical series, this is about Giselle's little sister turning five in France. Giselle is jealous and tries to turn attention to herself. When her mother takes Giselle to pick out a birthday gift, the girl suggests big lacy socks or sugary chocolate and candies, but Mom buys a perfume called Chloë just like the birthday girl. Foiled in her attempts to get a present she would like, Giselle asks whether there's a perfume with her name. When the big day actually comes, the family goes to the beach with a cake, a guinea-hen puppet, and the wrapped perfume. Giselle buries the perfume and hopes it gets lost, which it almost does! As it turns out, Giselle actually makes Chloë's birthday a happy one, as she tries to distract her from the lost present. The story is simple and believable. The watercolor illustrations are also very simple with a unique style. Set in 1978, the guinea-hen farm where they live, the streets where they shop, the beach, hair styles, bathing suits, and odd faces—are all convincing. A collection of souvenirs, including a child's artwork and notations in English and French, appear in the front and back of the book. It is not clear, however, whether or why the girl's writings are stronger in English or French. Still, a child should have fun and empathize with the storyteller and/or her sister. Cleverly, a birthday card is included. 2004, An Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, and Ages 4 to 8.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In this follow-up to The Year I Didn't Go to School (Atheneum, 2002), Potter is living in France with her family. Jealous that it's her sister's birthday and not her own, Giselle nonetheless goes into town with her mother to find the perfect gift. On the big day, the family takes a trip to the beach, where Giselle decides to hide Chlo''s present and nearly ruins the surprise. After the girls and their parents dig around in the sand looking for it, with no success, the younger girl finds the colorfully wrapped box by accident, to everyone's relief. The naive artwork, executed in pencil, ink, gouache, gesso, and watercolor, is colorful and interesting. The illustrations bring the setting to life and provide glimpses of the local culture. The endpapers feature some of the author's mementos, such as a ticket to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a French-English grocery list, and several paintings. A map of France on the back cover traces the family's journey to the shore. This refreshingly candid picture of a sibling relationship can be used in conjunction with the memoirs of other children's writers, such as Alison Lester's My Farm (Houghton, 1994), Patricia Polacco's My Rotten, Redheaded Older Brother (S & S, 1994), and Tomie dePaola's autobiographical series (Putnam).-Jane Barrer, Washington Square Village Creative Steps, New York City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this sequel to Potter's successful The Year I Didn't Go To School (2002), readers discover Giselle and her family in France, on the eve of her little sister Chloe's birthday. All the while she and her mother are looking for presents for Chloe, Giselle is fiercely wishing it were her day. After all, at five, Chloe does not properly relish all the attention-getting opportunities birthdays possess. Potter's theme of sibling rivalry and its attendant jealousies is universal; she delicately addresses the nature of sibling relationships, particularly at special times. With a keen wit, she reveals Giselle's conflicted emotions: Giselle selects presents she would prefer, taunts Chloe about the cake, and, in a final act of defiance, buries-and nearly loses-Chloe's present in the sand. However, this last close call with outright naughtiness checks Giselle's jealously, and she ultimately and genuinely celebrates Chloe's special day. The deeply hued illustrations are an arresting amalgamation of pencil and ink, gouache and watercolors, giving depth and texture to the pages, which have a distinctly European flare. Potter's tale will be much appreciated by readers of all ages who have suffered the pangs and pleasures of sibling relationships. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689862304
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.26 (w) x 10.48 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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