Oscar's Half Birthday
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Oscar's Half Birthday

by Bob Graham
     
 
Baby Oscar's half birthday is full cause for celebration in this amusing tale of an urban family outing, affectionately told by the inimitable Bob Graham.

"Perfect day for a half birthday,"
says Oscar's dad.
The birthday boy waves his wet fists.
"And a picnic," says Oscar's mom.

Oscar is six months old today, but the truth is

Overview

Baby Oscar's half birthday is full cause for celebration in this amusing tale of an urban family outing, affectionately told by the inimitable Bob Graham.

"Perfect day for a half birthday,"
says Oscar's dad.
The birthday boy waves his wet fists.
"And a picnic," says Oscar's mom.

Oscar is six months old today, but the truth is that no one can wait for his whole birthday. So there's nothing else for Mom and Dad to do but pack some sandwiches, park Oscar in his stroller, and take older sister Millie — handmade fairy wings attached — to the "half country" of their urban park for a half-birthday party. As always in the warm, quirky world of Bob Graham, the joy is in the details — a stop in a graffitied tunnel as the train rushes overhead; the expressions on Oscar's face as he watches a single leaf fall; the little half candle on his cake; and the impromptu gathering of admiring park visitors who join, one by one, in the hearty birthday song. With his jaunty watercolors full of charming surprises and a gently humorous text, Bob Graham creates an endearing, unconventional family readers will be happy to meet, and they'll be tickled to join in their celebration.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Graham (Max) serves up a slice of urban family life-and of birthday cake-in this picture book celebration of Oscar's first half-year. Mom, Dad and almost-four-year-old Millie think that a whole year is too long to wait to mark baby Oscar's milestone. So, Oscar's half-birthday proves the perfect occasion for a party and a picnic in the park. As the traffic and city noises fade away behind them, the family hikes on to find an ideal lunch spot as well as lots of friendly admirers in their fellow park goers. By including cozy details and warm humor, Graham crafts a sunny story brimming with love. His vibrant ink-and-watercolor illustrations, which affectionately depict a youthful biracial family, busy city neighborhoods and an idyllic natural setting, make every scene seem extra inviting. Ages 2-6. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A mixed-race family sets out for a picnic in the park to celebrate baby Oscar's half birthday. Graham displays a true understanding of children in both text and illustrations. Playful and imaginative big sister Millie wears coat-hanger fairy wings and her favorite dinosaur hand puppet. Oscar wobbles precariously in a sitting position on the picnic blanket, fingers grasping his sister's tuna sandwich. The sympathetic and loving parents enjoy their children and guide them in gentle, positive ways: when Millie squeezes Oscar's arm with the dinosaur, Dad cautions, "A little more fairy and not so much dinosaur." The text abounds with wonderful images, as when the family walks through the woods, "Oscar frowns in the dim light-six different expressions on his face in the time it takes a leaf to fall." The sounds of the surroundings, such as the "tickety-clack, tickety-clack" of the train on the overhead tracks, also make this book especially suited for reading aloud. The warm, expressive illustrations show a family apartment in which a mop, shoes, and toys all share floor space. Perspectives change as the family crosses a footbridge and climbs a huge hill; planes leave contrails in the blue sky overhead. This is an effortlessly multicultural story, full of the joy of childhood, family, and community as the whole hillside joins in singing happy birthday. A delightful addition to all collections.-Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The love and excitement of a family for their youngest member just cannot be contained for an entire year, so they must celebrate Oscar's half-birthday. The urbanites pack up and travel to the "half country"-a park in the city. Getting there is truly half the fun, as they enjoy the details along the way-the feel of the wind, the sound and vibration of the train, the falling leaves. As they light the half candle on the cake, the joy spills over to all the people in the park, and they join in, making it a celebration of community. Graham magnificently captures the essence of a six-month-old: "Oscar frowns in the dim light-six different expressions on his face in the time it takes a leaf to fall." Millie is an adorable older sister, clearly infatuated with Oscar. For his present, she gives him a turn with the dinosaur puppet that has not left her hand all day. The detailed watercolors perfectly follow the wonderfully descriptive text, starting young listeners on the bridge from simply looking at the pictures, to imagining them in their own minds. An endearing family sure to warm hearts and possibly spark a new tradition. (Picture book. 2-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763626990
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
05/10/2005
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.38(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Bob Graham is the award-winning creator of many books for children, including JETHRO BYRD, FAIRY CHILD, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal; "LET'S GET A PUP!" SAID KATE, a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award winner; MAX, a PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Best Book of the Year; and, most recently, TALES FROM THE WATERHOLE. Of OSCAR'S HALF BIRTHDAY, he says, "This book germinated from a perfect Sunday spent on London's Hampstead Heath looking at a birthday party close by. When the cake was produced and the well-known chorus began, the song caught like wildfire as most of the picnickers on the hillside joined in." Bob Graham currently lives in Australia.

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