What a joy it is to review Happy Birthday to You! -- written by Michelle Medlock Adams and illustrated by Sandra Rodriquez -- on this particular date. You see, today is my son's 30th birthday!
"Happy Birthday to You" is a delightful book and the perfect birthday gift for the little ones in your life.
Several things are, to me, especially impressive. First, author Michelle Medlock Adams provides text that is upbeat and cheerful, and the rhyme scheme is carried throughout the book in a way that creates a very smooth flow and that keeps the listener's attention. I especially loved the final page, in which the focus shifts from the party with guests, cake, and all the normal trimmings to the mention of a "prayer of thanks" for the birthday boy/girl and the line "I'm so proud of who you are". What a great closing!
The artwork is also outstanding. Bright, cheerful colors abound, and they are used in a way that (like the text) creates a smooth flow from page to page. The human characters and animals are adorable, and the facial expressions are well done. Each scene is interesting and complex enough to keep a child's attention time after time; at the same time, the scenes are not so complex as to be too "busy". Very nicely done by Sandra Rodriguez!
However, because "the proof is in the pudding", I read this book to 5 toddlers (one at a time). Each one asked me to read it again . . . and again . . . and again. Each smiled, giggled, and laughed as I read, and each one pointed at various things on the page as I turned them.
They also loved pressing the button -- 2 laughed at the song; the other 3 smiled and sang along (as best they could :)).
I also asked the mom of each of the 5 to loan me a photo of their toddler, and I inserted that in the sleeve on the last page. When I turned to the last page, each child was so surprised to see their own picture right there in the book, and they were obviously delighted to be a part of the book.
Then I handed the book to each child. It was a good fit for their small hands, and the pages are thick enough that they were able to turn them without difficulty.
It is interesting to note that none of the 5 children I shared "Happy Birthday to You!" was actually celebrating a birthday. That didn't make a bit of difference to them, so I'm sure any child that receives this book will enjoy it far after their birthday is past.
I will definitely be ordering multiple copies of this book -- one for each of my 5 reviewer-helpers and several more to have on hand for gifts!
(I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have provided above)