It’s the young narrator’s birthday, and she is a hot mess of emotions: “I hate you. Don’t sing! Take off the silly hats. Stop smiling. Stop laughing.” She insists that no one look at her—then dumps a bowl of snacks on her head to get attention. She complains about the sound of popping balloons, and then pops them herself. What’s wrong? Aside from a hit of existential dread (“How old am I now? I am always too little. Unless I am too big”), she doesn’t know—and Danis (Walk with Me) wisely withholds an explanation from readers, who have undoubtedly experienced similar Sturm und Drang. Arribas’s stylish illustrations combine big solid shapes with thick, markerlike textures and tones and overlays (sometimes off-register) of reds and blues on crisp white fields. The bold, sophisticated artwork captures a child’s sensibility and authentic rage, while at the same time reassuring readers there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. And sure enough, an adult intervenes, the girl realizes the contradictory nature of her own feelings (“Somehow even while I am busy hating you... Deep down... I love you!”) and she’s ready to hear everyone sing “Happy Birthday.” Whew. Ages 4–6. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018 Release date: 05/15/2018 Genre: Children's
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