cover image HAPPY TO YOU!


Caron Lee Cohen, , illus. by Rosanne Litzinger. . Clarion, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-618-04229-6

Young Daniel becomes so taken with the song "Happy Birthday to You" after attending his first birthday party that he bestows its good wishes on everything he sees during the rest of the day. "At home Daniel hugged his brown cow named Moo/ and said, 'Happy to you!' " Mommy is more than happy to mirror this adorable new habit back to her son: "Wind wiggled the trees, wiggledy, wiggledy, flippity leaves./ And Mommy said, 'Happy to you, flippity leaves.' " Cohen (Crookjaw) demonstrates how the word game comes in handy at naptime, too (" 'Happy to you, offity shoes,' he said./ 'Happy to you, fresh diaper on,' Mommy said"). Litzinger's (The Song Bird) illustrations are sometimes uncharacteristically chilly; the mother at moments seems almost affectless. But the artist's palette of warm, softly textured pastels lend a consistent coziness to the paintings, and she offers an array of dramatic perspectives—one of the best spreads shows Mommy's hands hoisting Daniel up into the sky, so that he appears to be equal in height to the treetops. Throughout the volume, Daniel's eyes, while tiny, shine with the thrill of incanting words that seem truly magical. Ages 1-4. (Sept.)