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Birthday Surprises: Ten Great Stories to Unwrap Paperback – April 24, 1997


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Birthday Surprises: Ten Great Stories to Unwrap + EVERY LIVING THING (Great Source Summer Success Reading) + Hey World, Here I Am! (Harper Trophy Book)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Series: Beech Tree Chapter Books
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688152953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688152956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7?This unique collection of short stories celebrates the creative power of imagination. At Hurwitz's invitation, 10 well-known children's authors have written pieces based on a single premise: a young person finds an empty box (beautifully wrapped) among his or her birthday gifts. The enormously varied responses range in tone from amusing to heartwarmingly sad; all provide food for thought. In the selections by Barbara Ann Porte, Ellen Conford, and Richard Peck, selfish girls fail to see or appreciate the symbolism of their gifts while Pam Conrad, Ann Martin, and David Adler depict children who understand the love their gifts represent. On a more somber note, Jane Yolen and James Howe depict characters who, while dealing with death, find courage and hope in their "empty" boxes. Karla Kuskin and Hurwitz herself add the lightest touches with an amusing poem and a story told through a collection of irate letters. Certainly each author handles the premise differently, but they all write with immediacy. Taken as a whole, this collection displays effective use of dialogue, vivid characterizations, accessible language, and intriguing plots that reach into the hearts and minds of preadolescent readers. The thoughtful arrangement nicely varies the pacing. This is a book to read for fun or in conjunction with writing assignments. An excellent surprise package.?Maggie McEwen, Coffin Elementary School, Brunswick, ME
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-6. Gift giving and receiving are the themes of this anthology. Hurwitz invited some of the best children's authors to contribute a story about a beautifully wrapped present that turns out to be empty. The result of such writing to order is, predictably, mixed: some stories are surprising, some are close to formula. Nearly all play with the idea that empty means full: the empty box is filled with love and anger, and with history, and with imagination. The power of these stories is in the telling: Richard Peck's Blossom Culp is her irrepressible self, the dirt-poor, vulnerable outsider who gets revenge on the snotty clique. Ellen Conford's narrator reveals how phony she is; she deserves a humiliating present. There are some real tearjerkers, too, including Pam Conrad's heartfelt story of reunion. The proceeds from this book will be donated to two national writing programs to encourage the enjoyment of writing and reading. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Many great heartwarming stories packed into one terrific book! These stories make you want to send a "birthday surprise" of your own to someone very special! This book will surely be on your shelf for many years. Don't miss the short stories from your favorite authors in Birthday Surprises.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzy Red on March 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with this book when it was named to the Texas Bluebonnet Awards List in 1996-97. Since then my students have LOVED reading the stories...each of them unique...each with a special message! What a treasure! It is the perfect motivator for inspiring students to write!
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Format: Paperback
In "Birthday Surprises," ten children's fiction authors each tell a story of a birthday celebration, complete with gifts. What happens when the celebrant receives an empty box as a present? What can an empty gift box represent? In these charming and imaginative tales, the box might be a:

*Comeuppance for a snooty schoolgirl.
*Gift of sky, memories, and love.
*Loving representation of the recipient herself.
*Melted gift.
*Wonderful technological innovation.
*Reminder that things are rarely the worst they can get.
*The one magical gift a little girl has always wanted.
*Symbol of faith in one who seems hopeless.
*Lesson about friendship.
*Hilarious shipping error.

These ten stories, penned by such amazing authors as Ann M. Martin, Richard Peck, and David A. Adler, among others, illustrate each author's unique interpretation of the same theme. The stories are intriguing and engaging, and they evoke a range of emotions that may include both tears and hearty laughs. This fantastic collection provides some excellent life lessons for the young reader about what is truly valuable, and what is not.
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By A Customer on December 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book contains 10 heartwarming stories. I think that every story has its own perspective of what life is all about. Some of them make you laugh, and some make you cry. The author of this this book should pat herself on the back. This is a book that you don't want to miss.
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