NO BIRTHDAYS! A Birthday for Bear by Bonnie Becker
Whish. Whish. Whish. Bear swept the floor. He was very, very busy today.
Bear was always very busy on his birthday.
He opened the door to shake out his broom and there was Mouse--small and gray and bright-eyed.
"Happy birthday, Bear!" cried Mouse.
"It's not my birthday," lied Bear.
"But it says so right here!" said Mouse, waving a party invitation.
"This is your handwriting!" protested Bear. "YOU wrote it!":
Mouse hung his head. "Shameful trickery," he confessed. "Terribly sorry. But perhaps we could have just a little party?"
"I DO NOT LIKE PARTIES. I DO NOT LIKE BIRTHDAYS. AND I ESPECIALLY DO NOT LIKE BIRTHDAY PARTIES FOR ME AT MY HOUSE," Bear announced, and he swept Mouse out the door.
Who doesn't like birthdays? Well, apparently that curmudgeonly, persnickety bachelor bear beguiled into friendship by the ever-cheery Mouse in Bonnie Becker's multiple prize-winning A Visitor for Bear.
This time Mouse is back, still small, gray, bright-eyed...and determined to interrupt the drudgeful Bear with some diversion, this time his own birthday! Mouse subsequently appears at the back door, disguised as a deliveryman bearing three birthday balloons, only to be turned away. ("But surely you would like just one balloon? It bats about nicely.") He appears at Bear's window as a minuscule postman bearing a birthday card, only to have the window slammed shut by the unwilling birthday bear. Undaunted, Mouse drops down the chimney upon the hearth, costumed as a tiny Santa Claus bearing a large gift box.
"Ho, Ho, Ho!" cried the little Santa Claus. "A Christmas gift for Bear!"
Christmas already? thought Bear. "Wait a minute! It's not Christmas! It's my birthday."
"You said it wasn't your birthday!" The little Santa looked very pleased with himself.
But Bear again roars out his disapproval of all things birthday, and Mouse sadly departs the now squeaky clean premises, dragging his rejected gift by its bow. It seems there will be no birthday for Bear.
But of course, Bear has second thoughts. No one has ever given him a birthday present. And then there is a Ding-Dong at the front door. Sure it is Mouse in another guise, Bear throws the door open abruptly, only to find a pink box on his doorstep.
"You don't fool me, Mouse! I know you're in there," Bear cried, springing open the lid of the box.
But inside was just a cake. A big cake, with chocolate sprinkles and the words Happy Birthday, Bear in chocolate icing.
"I do not like birthday cake, either!" Bear announced loudly so that Mouse would hear.
But Bear cannot resist taking the cake inside and steathily scooping up a big pawful of fluffy chocolate frosting.
Out of the cake popped Mouse! Small and gray and bright-eyed.
"A-haaa!" cried Mouse. "You do like birthday cake!"
As before, the sociable Mouse prevails, and a happy birthday celebration ensues, with a grateful roller-skating Bear and bright-eyed and satisfied friend finishing every crumb of Mouse's homemade chocolate cake.
Like its predecessor, author Bonny Becker and artist Kady McDonald Denton have another read-aloud winner in their just published A Birthday for Bear (Candlewick, 2009). Listening and early reading kids will eat this one up as happily as Bear and Mouse finish off their cake and will definitely be asking for more Bear and Mouse books.
Delish storytelling--at its best!