cover image Arthur's Birthday

Arthur's Birthday

Marc Tolon Brown, Mones, Underwood. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-11073-0

In Brown's 13th book about Arthur, the bespectacled hero finds out he has scheduled his birthday party at the same time as Muffy's party. Arthur has relatives coming from Ohio; Muffy has already booked a rock band and Pickles the Clown. Neither of them can change the date. Their friends reluctantly take sides, the girls choosing Muffy's party and the boys choosing Arthur's, even though they wish they could go to both. Finally, Arthur and his friend Francine surprise everyone with a fine compromise. ``After all,'' says Arthur, ``what's a birthday party without all your friends!'' Because of the spare text, the resolution of the plot may not be entirely clear to all readers, but the festive watercolor-and-ink drawings are full of the homey details, lovably familiar characters and verve that has come to be associated with this series. Ages 4-8. (May)