On the eve of his birthday, Fritz “is quite sure that five will feel very different.” But slowly he realizes that one day, no matter how special everyone says it is, doesn’t make a difference in terms of being able to tie his shoelaces or “whistle, snap his fingers... or do the monkey bars two at a time.” Fritz has a very grown-up epiphany: turning a year older isn’t like flipping a switch—you have to grow into growing up, bit by bit. Murguia (Zoe’s Jungle) has Fritz shake off his epistemological mood and show his five-year-old mettle by picking some apples for a girl in a finale that doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the preceding pages. But this otherwise beautifully told story should prompt intriguing conversations on how events like birthdays infuse meaning into the flow of days that makes up our lives—even when any actual day-to-day change is barely evident. Fritz and his Marmaduke-size dog make excellent companions on this philosophical journey, leavening big questions with kid-scaled humor. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014 Release date: 08/05/2014 Genre: Children's
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