cover image Babette Cole's Beastly Birthday Book

Babette Cole's Beastly Birthday Book

Babette Cole. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-41679-5

The puckishly costumed narrator of this beguiling pop-up and lift-the-flap book is having a birthday party, and he extends invitations to a gaggle of cartoony creatures--a ``raging'' rhino, a quintet of singing cows, masked robbers, a heavy metal band, circus sharks. ``I know my mom won't mind,'' he reassures his guests. Equally well-mannered, they prepare birthday presents for him, which are actual items tucked into cunningly designed pockets on each spread. The cows, for example, bestow The Singing Cows Song Book by ``Babette Calf and Ron Van der Moo,'' which contains such loopy lyrics as ``Woke up this morning, / Blue down to our hooooves, / There ain't no cream in our cattlecake, / And we've got the / Moo moo Bloooos.'' The sharks proffer a tin of Loch Mess salmon, marked ``best before opening.'' Then the celebrants congregate for the infectiously zany festivities, and the rest is icing on the birthday cake. As usual, Cole's ( The Silly Book ; The Trouble with Grandad ) winsome pictures offer the wacky and unexpected at every turn. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)