FICTION

Brandon's Birthday Surprise

. 978-0-7613-5085-9. ea vol: 24p. (Cloverleaf Books: Holidays and Special Days Series). further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Millbrook. 2012. PLB $23.93; pap. $6.95; ebook $17.95.
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K-Gr 2—Brandon and his older brother, Riley, are preparing a party for their mother while she is out shopping. They bake a cake, make a birthday card, and construct a piñata. When she returns, the children are thrilled at her surprised expression, not realizing that she may be astonished at the mess they created. The whimsical illustrations have a lot going on, and young children will enjoy inspecting them in detail. Insets explain the history and traditions associated with birthday celebrations, including some traditions from other countries. In the next book, Chelsea and her parents are preparing for Chinese New Year. On the evening before the big day, they gather with extended family for a feast with all of the traditional foods. The cartoon illustrations are colorful and appealing. Insets explain the history and traditions associated with Chinese New Year, both in China and in the United States. A chart of the Chinese zodiac is included. In the third book, Emma and her family are preparing for Easter. They decorate eggs, go to church, eat jelly beans, have dinner with Emma's grandparents, and hunt for eggs. The illustrations, which feature a biracial family, are colorful and expressive. Instructions for making paper Easter flowers are included. Divided into short chapters, these volumes are primarily informational books with stories as backdrops.—Debbie Lewis, Alachua County Library District, FL
Emma's story reflects her family's African American and Russian American heritage (no mention that Russian Orthodox Easter usually falls on a different date than other Christian sects). Rashad and his Muslim family observe Ramadan. Sarah prepares for her role in asking the "Four Questions." Bright, cheerful illustrations will draw readers to these simple introductions; text boxes provide more details than the young narrators do. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind. Review covers these Cloverleaf Books: Holidays and Special Days titles: Emma's Easter, Rashad's Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, and Sarah's Passover.
Children from different cultural groups describe their families' celebrations. Information about the occasions is included in the simplistic stories, but text boxes provide more details than the young narrators do. Bright, cheerful illustrations will draw readers to these introductions. Birthday focuses on U.S. customs but mentions other traditions. An activity concludes each volume. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind. Review covers these Cloverleaf Books: Holidays and Special Days titles: Brandon's Birthday Surprise, Chelsea's Chinese New Year, and Marco's Cinco de Mayo.

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