When's My Birthday?

When's My Birthday? illus. by Christian Robinson. 40p. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722934.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 1—An exuberant ode to children's anticipation for the most special day each year: their birthday. Fogliano's insistent verse wastes no time and doesn't even stop for traditional capitalization—just like the young narrators, who want to know, "when's my birthday?/where's my birthday?/how many days until/my birthday?" They continue breathlessly, wondering if they will "sing so happy happy?" on the big day. The exaggerated excitement is echoed in Robinson's clever use of scale, as in a spread featuring a gigantic present tied with white twine. A little girl reaches up to pull the string, dwarfed by its size. The long and tall trim size is also ideal for displaying a towering, swimming pool—size birthday cake so large that the young birthday boy needs a ladder to reach the candles. A muted palette of slate blue, mustard yellow, forest green, and burnt sienna, sometimes appearing on a rich black background, reflects the festive tone of the text without tipping over into what could be—in the hands of a less skilled poet and artist—overwhelming or obnoxious in its fervor. Instead, readers will appreciate and immediately recognize the joyful expectancy.
VERDICT Buoyant and perfectly childlike, meant to be read aloud with gusto and a keen sense of urgency. A first purchase for any library, and a ready-made gift for home collections.

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