Review Blog

Nov 01 2017

Birthday Boy by David Baddiel

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Ill. by Jim Field. HarperCollins Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9780008200480
(Age: 8 - 12 years) Sam Green is really looking forward to his birthday and wishes it was every day. His very sensible seven-year old sister Ruby disagrees and points out that if birthdays were every day, they wouldn't be special. When Sam's wish comes true, however, he starts to regret his wish. Funnily enough he blames his guinea pig Spock, who looks at him with disdain. Sam takes a long time to decide he just wants things to go back to normal.
For the first six months of repeated birthdays, for at least a third of the book, the author entertained readers with a ridiculous amount of descriptions of parties and presents. Sam's character quickly got on my nerves, particularly when reading about how his family were completely broke and going without necessities in order to pay for his birthday celebrations each day and his nonchalance about this. 'I want I want I want'. However, I'm sure kids will really enjoy the humour in this book.
The illustrations, by Jim Field, added the comic quality to the story line, and it did aid in allowing the reader to recognize how farfetched the Groundhog Day idea was. Unfortunately at points, I felt like the author was sending the wrong message to the 8-12 age group instead of focusing on building firm relationships with family and giving less thought to material things.
Mind you, the first novel by this duo, The Parent Agency won Best Laugh out loud award in 2016, so maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind when I read it.
Clare Thompson

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