From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K-A warm, tender picture book in which a mother tells her daughter about her first 24 hours of life outside of the womb. The opening picture shows a bewildered, wrinkled, life-sized baby, still with her umbilical cord, supported by the doctor's hands. The cord is snipped, a nurse slips a hat on baby's head, and mother and father envelop her with love. Mother breastfeeds her, and relatives gather to admire, take photos, and welcome the new arrival. The description of the infant's first sounds and actions is gentle and poetic. Emberley's illustrations in pencil and pastels fill the oversized pages with soft-focused, cozy colors and true-to-life detail. For the special moment when parents want to answer a child's questions about birth, this book offers both facts and reassurance. The arrival of Happy Birth Day! is an occasion worth celebrating.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 3^-7. Young children love to look at photographs of babies, especially pictures of themselves when they were little. They marvel at their tiny toes and fingers, squinty red faces, wrinkly feet, and dainty pink nails. In a seamless blending of text and artwork, this picture book goes a session with a photo album one better, catching close up the miracle of a newborn baby and the sweet joy and physicality of its first day in the world. Harris' affectionate first-person text, focusing on one young couple welcoming a newborn, is very personal: "I'll never forget the moment you were born. . . . You let out a loud cry--about as loud as a coyote howling at the moon." Yet it is full of the universal wonder of new life and the quiet drama of family bonding. Emberley's paintings are spectacular. Large, realistic, and softly colored, they literally glow as they catch the tender moments: the baby girl naked, eyes barely open, umbilical cord still attached; squalling, fingers clutching; at mother's breast; in father's arms; peacefully asleep encircled by Mom and Dad. The book will be a hugely appealing library item, with potential for small-group use as well as lap sharing. An interview with Harris, on page 1495, lends further insight into the making of this touching book, which speaks with joy and wonder to young children and their parents. Stephanie Zvirin