cover image Piggy's Birthday Dream

Piggy's Birthday Dream

Anke de Vries, Anke De Vries, Handprint. Boyds Mills Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-886910-21-8

A group of animal pals band together to surprise a super-shy friend on her birthday in this gentle, somewhat slight story from the Netherlands. Piggy is so shy that she runs away when other animals come to play and blushes when she sees herself in the mirror. On her birthday Piggy dreams of ""herself--all alone--and wished she had some friends to play with."" Spetter, in her first picture book, cleverly plants clues to the imminent surprise (e.g., Duck and Frog peek in from the lower left corner of a double-page spread while Piggy sings ""Happy Birthday to me""; and the two, joined by Sheep and Chicken, watch Piggy dream). The artist's blueberry, melon green and pumpkin colors envelope the animal characters in full-bleed spreads. When Frog, Duck, Hedgehog, Sheep and the rest are ready to party, they call the guest of honor, who ""was so happy she forgot all about being shy."" De Vries's (My Elephant Can Do Almost Anything) depiction of the introverted Piggy will ring true for the painfully shy, and Spetter's quietly comic scenes keep the tone lighthearted. Ages 3-8. (Aug.)