cover image Stop This Birthday!

Stop This Birthday!

Rowan Cutler, , illus. by Elizabeth McClellan. . Chronicle, $14.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3765-1

A redheaded girl named Zephyr learns the true meaning of "Be careful what you wish for" in this first book for both author and illustrator. Like every kid, Zephyr believes her birthday is an event of galactic significance. So when the Birthday Fairy appears at the girl's bed at the close of a very successful celebration ("The doorbell rang 10 times... She got oh-so-many presents"), Zephyr naturally asks that her birthday come every day of the year—then every minute of the year, and then every second of the year. Ever-mounting chaos ensues: "Her dress got splooshed! The front door cracked!... The presents came tumbling down! Finally Zephyr yelled, 'Stop this birthday!!!' " The Birthday Fairy restores calendrical equilibrium, and the serenity of a starry summer night persuades Zephyr that some down time might not be so bad after all. As a debut work, this one is a mixed bag. McClellan depicts Zephyr with brio, but struggles to give the spreads a focus and, consequently, many of the pages dissolve into a blur of bright colors. Cutler's pacing, meanwhile, is assured, while her punchy sentences give a familiar premise a good dose of fresh comic frenzy. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)