on August 20, 1999
This book isn't just for children. Its for anyone who wants to feel like a child. For my mother's 50th birthday, I got her a fairy princess crown and a fairy princess wand, then read this book aloud to all the guests as she sat holding her wand and wearing her crown. It was a lot of fun. Then I passed the book around for everyone to sign.
You don't have to be a kid to enjoy Dr. Seuss.
"I wish we could do what they do in Katroo . . . ." Thus begins Dr. Seuss's amazing conception of the birthday party EACH person should have.
Guided by the special brainy bird, the Birthday Honk Honker, you will find yourself in the middle of a marvelous day. You are awakened by the bird, "Wake Up! For today is your Day of all Days!" He then heads for your bed. "He knows your address . . ." and quickly comes to give you the special birthday handshake. This involves touching your right index finger with his equivalent digit while you touch your left big toe with your left index finger (while he mimics the same motion).
Throughout, Dr. Seuss makes it clear that just being born and being you is all that is required to deserve such classy treatment. "If you'd never been born, well what would you do? . . . be? Why, you might be a WASN'T."
Your day includes a trip through the Birthday Flower Jungle while being carried in a boat through the air by Funicular Goats. The flowers smell like licorice and cheese.
For lunch, you eat hot dogs, rolled out on a spool, for an endless meal. With so much mustard on you, cleaning off in a Mustard-Off pool is required.
You sing loudly, "I am lucky!"
And that's before you go to the Birthday Pal-alace with its 9,403 rooms to play games in. You get to make such a mess that it will take 20 days just to "sweep up the mess."
Then, you meet drummers, strummers, zummers, and of course, plumbers.
Dr. Derring's Singing Herrings spell out, "Happy Birthday to You."
Then, you get the most amazing cake.
And all of this because, "There is no one alive who is you-er than you."
Now, you might wonder about the wisdom of reading this book to a child. Whatever you do cannot match up. Well, Dr. Seuss thought of that point also.
As he reminds us in the end,
What the Birthday Bird
Does in Katroo."
"And I wish
I could do
All these great things for you!"
As you can see, the book is set up to convey your deepest conviction that the honoree (usually your child) is well worth whatever the positive limits of imagination can bring. But, of course, being a mere parent, you cannot do that much. Whatever you do will naturally be received with greater enthusiasm, realizing its symbolic intent.
A fun way to use this book would be to create birthday elements that build on it. For example, you could draw a birthday palace, and buy one of those games as a gift that contains hundreds of variations in it. Then, you could attach your drawing to the gift. With good imagination, your child can feel like she or he has had such a day.
Carrying on with that theme, you could reenact other parts of the book. You could dress up like the Birthday Bird and give the handshake in the morning, for example. If it's a weekend, you could have hot dogs for lunch (if your honoree likes them). If it's a week day, you could have them for dinner. You get the idea.
There's another message here, too. Each other person deserves this princely treatment as well. That must mean that being a person is pretty special. I know of no book that stakes out such a strong statement in favor of each person. Be sure to build on this lesson to help you child learn to respect, appreciate, and eventually care about everyone!
"And I wish I could do all these great things for you!" And I do so wish.
on August 2, 2002
I have loved this book ever since I can remember. It has positively ruined me for my birthday every year, I do absolutely nothing I don't want to do. I eat cake for breakfast if I want, and I never go to work that day. What a positive and creative book this is, it totally convinced me that everyone is worth spoiling rotten at least one day a year. And the pictures are so emotive and beautiful - that last image of the child bundled up safely on the flying platter is so comforting. Both my sons love the book and request it read often. The copy from my childhood is missing both covers now and some of the pages are separated, but we still love it!
on April 18, 2005
When do birthday's become just ordinary days? Is it after the age of 30? Or maybe even before that? And why do we tend to cringe when we think about our birthday?
Dr. Seuss, in his classic book "Happy Birthday to You" reminds us that birthdays are meant to be celebrated! At least they are in Katroo...where the Birthday Bird gives the "hi-sign-and shake just for you". So begins the birthday adventure which includes eating whatever you like (even fettucine alfredo or a chocolate-marshmallow milkshake if you so desire, or in the case of the book, hotdogs with plenty of mustard) It's also a day of entertainment, like being pulled through the air by "funicular goats" (you have to see 'em to believe 'em) and gifts (of course cost is no object) topped off with a FABULOUS party at the Birthday Pal-alace complete with a serenade by Dr. Derring's Singing Herrings (singing, spelling herrings that is!)
And that's just a little taste of this Seuss tale... one that was read to me growing up, on my own birthday. On the big day, Mom would wake me (and each of my siblings on their respective birthday's) with a reading of "Happy Birthday to You" and a piece of birthday cake for breakfast. Cake for breakfast you say? Of course! It certainly started the birthday-day out right. It's a tradition that I continue with my son. Because birthday's are special and deserve to be treated as such. Whether you're 3, 43 or 103, how often do you have a day that celebrates YOU?
Start a tradition in your family and read "Happy Birthday to You" on the morning of a birthday (and what the heck, maybe throw in a slice of cake and some ice cream too...they'll love you for it!)
Seuss ends the book with the Birthday Bird flying the happy, but tired birthday child home on a very soft platter and putting him to bed. The last lines are my favorite: "So that's what the Birthday Bird does in Katroo. And I wish I could do all these great things for you!"
Read this classic, imagine yourself in Katroo, and have yourself a Happy Birthday!
on February 28, 1999
I have loved this book since I was old enough to look at the pictures. It brings back great memories of my childhood and my family and all the birthdays we have celebrated together. This book is a classic and an excellent, different present for anyone who's having a birthday!! I have been searching for this book to give to my children for years.....now I have finally found it. Classic in all the Seuss ways, exciting, fun and thought inspiring, I recommend it for all of your friends and loved ones having a birthday! Start a tradition!!!!!! They will thank you, if not now, later in life!!!!! Just imagine celebrating your birthday the way they do in the book!!!!!! What a blast!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)
on June 2, 2015
I received this book yesterday, While I am happy with the book it arrived with some gross brown residue on the back. The residue came off with a wipe and I checked the entire rest of the book to make sure there wasn't any inside. While the book is fine, it sucked getting it and having to wipe it down. Make sure you double check your book if you buy it to give it as a gift. Luckily this one is for my own son, so I was able to get rid of the yucky brown stuff.
on May 18, 2002
Dr Seuss describes in dream-land all the wonderful things you could do, and the places you could go, with a special birthday bird that shows up to entertain you on your birthday !!!!
This book has the type of imaginative pictures that most kids go absolutely CRAZY about. Camels with smorgasboards atop them, with chairs strapped to the humps that you could eat breakfast atop. Moutain swimming pools with multiple levels - things that we would LOVE to experience in our wildest dreams.
My #1 favorite children's book out of about 50 books (including 10 Dr. Seuss) when i was a kid. There is no book that made me happier to read. It DOES NOT have to be your birthday for you to simply LOVE this book.
Now that I have my own sons, I found another book with similar imagination : "Oh, the things you can think!!" but not quite as spectacular or wonderful as "Happy Birthday to You !!" by Dr. Seuss.
on April 23, 2003
After one reads and delights in Dr. Seuss' book, Happy Birthday to You!, one will see the giving of birthday cards in a much colder and more sterile light. This book should be given to anyone celebrating a birthday who could use a snack from a Hippo-Heimers back (and, quite frankly, who could not). It is a book for all ages through the ages, entirely timeless in its zany approach to that special day. It will have you shouting "I am I" which is the purpose of birthdays and even better is having someone with whom to share one's birthday to shout "We are we". A delightful book which should replace birthday cards and be attached to any gift or even be the gift itself.
on January 11, 2016
I bought this when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
It was 2 weeks from my husband's October birthday, so I wrapped up this book, waited the two weeks, and then gave the present to him on his birthday night. He was quite confused when he first opened it, but then he turned to the first page where I had written:
"Happy Birthday! Please read this to me in June when I get to meet you for my very own birthday! Love, Your Firstborn Child"
The look on his face was priceless!