Ben talks of little but his coming birthdaymuch to his older sister's dismay. She meets his growing excitement with increasingly disparaging remarks: ``Who cares?'' and ``So what?'' and, finally, ``By the way, I can't come to your party.'' Her mother wisely intervenes, helping Molly count the days until her birthday; and Molly at last joins Ben's celebration wholeheartedly. An unusual and telling slant distinguishes this look at birthdays. Understated, childlike text accompanies bold, expressive graphics; the work sympathetically conveys the anticipation and exhilaration of the birthday child as well as the understandable jealousy of the sibling who feels left out. Ages 4-up. (April)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1 Ben is counting down the days to his fifth birthday, but sister Molly is surly about Ben's upcoming celebration. On the day of Ben's party, Molly announces that she won't be able to attend. Mother resolves the problem by pointing out that Molly's birthday will be coming soon. Molly does attend the party with some special presents for Ben, including a letter that states, ``I'm happy today is your birthday because now we don't have to count the days to your birthday any more. Now we can start counting the days to my birthday.'' Although Molly has given some thought and care to Ben's gifts, it is the letter that will leave the final impression on readers. While the opaque watercolors adequately illustrate the text, sibling rivalry over a birthday is dealt with better in Russell Hoban's A Birthday for Frances (Harper, 1968), as it possesses a charm and a warmth lacking in Russo's book and shows Frances' emotional growth. Susan Nemeth McCarthy, Arlington County Public Library, Va.