01 April 2008
It's been awhile since I've come across a book that I felt was a suitable replacement for Kat Kong (plus I was out of the country.) But a successor has been found! Scott Beck's Happy Birthday Monster! is a charming book that has already enjoyed repeat readings at our house. The story is straightforward: Ben, a cute little demon-like monster, is throwing a surprise birthday party for his friend Doris (a cute little dragon-like monster.) We see Ben welcoming his guests, the guests hiding, and then the ensuing fun of dancing, snacks, and gift-giving. Beck's clever, cheerful illustrations run as a series of visual jokes: a ghost chagrined when her snacks fall right through her; Ben stuck in the ceiling by his horns after being tossed in the air by his friends; Doris lighting her own candles by breathing fire on them. There are plenty of puns, too. Everyone is so happy to be together. If only all birthday parties were this congenial!