cover image A Birthday for Blue

A Birthday for Blue

Kerry Raines Lydon. Albert Whitman & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-0774-2

Moving west by wagon across the Appalachian Mountains to a new home, Blue's family takes time from a busy day to mark his seventh birthday. His mother sings him a song as they walk along; Blue's father plants seven pine trees around the base of a large tree where he then carves the boy's name. Blue knows, as they leave that spot the next day, that he may never see his presents again, but that they will be there forever. In the narrative, Lydon includes references to the historic Cumberland Road, and finishes the book with a map of the family's probable path. Hays casts the story in early morning and late afternoon sunlight; in pastel blues and greens, he evokes the mountainous vistas that surround the travelers. It's a thoughtful story of the gentler aspects of a usually rugged way west. Ages 5-9. (Feb.)