Surprise! Happy Birthday, Hamster! by Cynthia Lord
YOU ARE INVITED TO HAMSTER'S BIRTHDAY PARTY.
BUT SHHHHHHHH! IT'S A SURPRISE!
What's more fun than a birthday party? A surprise birthday party--especially when the guest of honor is totally clueless.
Hamster is sure that his friends, especially his best friend Bulldog, will remember his birthday, but as the day goes along without a mention of the big event, Hamster starts to fret.
Sure, Bulldog comes over and congenially invites Hamster to keep him company as he does his daily errands. First stop is the bakery, and Hamster looks hopefully at the birthday cakes in the case.
PINK CAKE, BLUE CAKE.
CHOCOLATE THROUGH-AND-THROUGH CAKE.
"WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?"
Hamster volunteers that he would picks the biggest, with the most frosting, but Bulldog just nods and orders a bag of dog biscuits. Hamster's heart sinks.
A trip to the toy store is even more disheartening. All those nifty toys, and despite yearning looks and hints by Hamster ("I LOVE toys!"), Bulldog selects a utilitarian ball for himself.
"WAIT! HAVEN'T YOU FORGOTTEN SOMETHING?" HAMSTER SAYS.
Bulldog agrees, and heads on to finish his rounds in the barber shop and party store, where he bypasses all of Hamster's hints and glancing at the festive balloons and pirate costumes, buys a greeting card "for a friend," and declares himself satisfied with his completed shopping expedition.
Hamster heads for his house, sadly contemplating a lonely birthday, and morosely and perfunctorily invites his friend in when they reach his door.
And of course by this time everyone but Hamster knows what is going to be behind that door! Newbery-winning author Cynthia Lord's and artist Derek Anderson's brand-new Happy Birthday Hamster (Scholastic, 2011) ends with a happy surprise--a happy birthday surprise in which Bulldog's assistant mice, only partially in view, stealthily taking notes all through the expedition, have picked up on all of Hamster's hints along the way, and he finds just the kind of birthday party he dreamed of. Lord's verse and Anderson's illustrations, first found together in their hit Hot Rod Hamster, are full of birthday cheer sure to please honorees and guests alike.