cover image Some Birthday!

Some Birthday!

Patricia Polacco. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-671-72750-5

The entire family has forgotten Patricia's birthday. And to make matters worse, Dad has proposed an evening trip to the Clay Pit at the edge of town--``one of the scariest places on earth.'' Armed with campfire provisions and outfitted in rain gear and galoshes, Dad, Patricia, her brother Rich and cousin Billy embark on the eerie adventure. But when Dad walks off to investigate a mysterious rustling, the children are certain they've spotted the notorious Clay Pit Monster and run screaming all the way home. Belly laughs abound as Dad reveals the monster's true identity, and then the real fun begins--a party for the birthday girl complete with cake and presents. Polacco's ( Rechenka's Eggs ; The Keeping Quilt ) warm illustrations are bursting with homey details, from sweaters frayed at the elbows and worn armchairs to miniature framed snapshots and overloaded electrical outlets. Her particularly emotive faces come alive with fear and anticipation, and a skillful blend of bold, moonlit night scenes and the ample white space of day provides an exciting sense of motion. Polacco has served up a delicious slice of family life. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)