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Duncan Rumplemeyer's Bad Birthday
     

Duncan Rumplemeyer's Bad Birthday

by Alexander Stadler
 
It isn't easy being Duncan Rumplemeyer. Duncan doesn't mean to get in trouble, but sometimes he can't help it. And there's one thing in particular that keeps him in the doghouse: He can't quite get the hang of sharing.

On his seventh birthday Duncan finds himself in the biggest trouble of all. Will this be Duncan's last birthday party? Will his friends speak to him

Overview

It isn't easy being Duncan Rumplemeyer. Duncan doesn't mean to get in trouble, but sometimes he can't help it. And there's one thing in particular that keeps him in the doghouse: He can't quite get the hang of sharing.

On his seventh birthday Duncan finds himself in the biggest trouble of all. Will this be Duncan's last birthday party? Will his friends speak to him again? Will his parents ever let him out of his room?

Duncan Rumplemeyer's Bad Birthday introduces an irrepressible character who will charm picture book readers everywhere. Alexander Stadler has created a story that's part funny, part tender, and all true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
"My name is Duncan Rumplemeyer, and I am not a bad kid-but sometimes I act like one." The cause of the hero's "bad birthday" stems from two problems: Duncan is having "one of [his] mischievous days" plus he does not like sharing. "If a toy is fun, why let go of it? Who know when you'll get it back?" Nothing is going right. Duncan gets up in the night and opens his family's gifts ("I woke up and thought, Presents are in this house. I checked the clock. It was almost my birthday...."), incurring the wrath of his mother. When his father asks Duncan if he likes the party clown, the boy replies honestly, "No," offending his father. Then, with a banshee-like fury, the boy blows his top at his guests when they start playing with his new toys. "After that everybody went home." Soon Duncan realizes that friends matter most, and he makes amends with one, as a start. Stadler's google-eyed characters and boldly-outlined, na f drawing style are well-suited to subjects of pint-size emotional turmoil. But the pithy eloquence that distinguished the Beverly Billingsly books goes missing here. The wordy, at times overly sophisticated text feels a bit like a youngster trying to do a Seinfeld routine ("When my father brought me my snack, I asked if I was allowed one phone call"); the lesson at the end detracts from the otherwise authentic feelings of a stubborn kid. Still, readers will likely revel in Duncan's "mischief." Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Duncan Rumplemeyer just can't quite get the hang of sharing, especially on his birthday. He describes himself as "feeling mischievous" the night before his big day; he sneaks a peek at his presents, resulting in the disapprobation of his parents and plain cereal with no gift opening at breakfast. But at his party, he gleefully opens his loot, piles it into a wagon, and takes it to the park with his guests. Once there, his friends begin playing with his gifts, which enrages Duncan. He grabs back his new goodies and everyone goes home. Relegated to prison (his room), he slowly realizes that playing alone is no fun. A phone call and apology to his buddy Flora results in a happy conclusion and a lesson well learned. Stadler's use of first-person voice makes the seven-year-old seem a bit too worldly wise but the plot is so dead-on true to life that kids may not even notice. The gouache-and-ink illustrations are done in a sketchy, lively manner. Stadler is a master at conveying subtle and grand emotion with a few lines. This slice-of-life portrait of a child being a child will resonate with youngsters everywhere.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Stadler's jagged, thick-lined art may resemble William Steig's, but his young narrator is pure Jules Feiffer: "Why share? If a toy is fun, why let go of it? Who knows when you'll get it back?" But after bringing his birthday party to a tearful end by jealously hoarding his gifts and spending a punitive hour alone in his room playing with his new rude-noise-making device, Duncan begins to wonder: "If you make a rude noise and no one hears it, is it still gross?" A contrite phone call brings his friend Flora back over, and helps him work out the right answer. The Message hangs heavy over this, but Duncan's distinctive voice, plus a light touch with the moral, makes it a persuasive exercise in the benefits of socialization. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689867323
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.44(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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