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The Secret Birthday Message Paperback – May 23, 1986

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A small boy follows a coded message to find his birthday surprise. PW noted that this book introduces "pattern recognition, matching shapes, map-reading, and directional relationships in full-color pages that allow preschoolers to participate fully in the enticing adventure."
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Eric Carle is the creator of more than seventy picture books for young readers.

Eric Carle was born in New York, USA. However, when he was just six, he moved with his parents to Germany. In 1952, after graduating from the prestigious Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, he fulfilled his dream of returning to New York.

Eric Carle has received many distinguished awards and honours for his work, including, in 2003, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his lifetime contribution to children's literature and illustration.

In 2002, fifty years after Carle's return to the United States, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art was opened in Amherst, Massachusetts. Here visitors of all ages can enjoy, in addition to Eric Carle's work, original artwork by other distinguished children's book illustrators from around the world.


Eric Carle es el creador de más de setenta libros ilustrados para niños.

Nació en Syracuse, Nueva York, pero a los seis años de edad se trasladó con sus padres a Alemania. En 1952, tras graduarse de la prestigiosa Akademie der Bildenden Künste de Stuttgart, logró cumplir su sueño de regresar a Nueva York.

Ha recibido muchos e importantes premios y distinciones, entre ellos el Laura Ingalls Wilder Award en 2003, por su aportación global a la literatura y a la ilustración infantil.

En 2002, cincuenta años después de su regreso a los Estados Unidos, se inauguró en Amherst, Massachusetts, el Museo Eric Carle de Libros Ilustrados, donde se exhibe, además de la obra completa de Eric Carle, un buen número de originales de los más destacados ilustradores de libros infantiles del mundo entero.



Eric Carle is the creator of more than seventy picture books for young readers.

Eric Carle was born in New York, USA. However, when he was just six, he moved with his parents to Germany. In 1952, after graduating from the prestigious Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, he fulfilled his dream of returning to New York.

Eric Carle has received many distinguished awards and honours for his work, including, in 2003, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his lifetime contribution to children's literature and illustration.

In 2002, fifty years after Carle's return to the United States, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art was opened in Amherst, Massachusetts. Here visitors of all ages can enjoy, in addition to Eric Carle's work, original artwork by other distinguished children's book illustrators from around the world.


Eric Carle es el creador de más de setenta libros ilustrados para niños.

Nació en Syracuse, Nueva York, pero a los seis años de edad se trasladó con sus padres a Alemania. En 1952, tras graduarse de la prestigiosa Akademie der Bildenden Künste de Stuttgart, logró cumplir su sueño de regresar a Nueva York.

Ha recibido muchos e importantes premios y distinciones, entre ellos el Laura Ingalls Wilder Award en 2003, por su aportación global a la literatura y a la ilustración infantil.

En 2002, cincuenta años después de su regreso a los Estados Unidos, se inauguró en Amherst, Massachusetts, el Museo Eric Carle de Libros Ilustrados, donde se exhibe, además de la obra completa de Eric Carle, un buen número de originales de los más destacados ilustradores de libros infantiles del mundo entero.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 100 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 23, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064430995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064430999
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My daughter received this book for her 1st birthday and although she was too little to "follow" the symbols of the "secret message" she adores the shaped pages, the large pictures of easily identified objects - moon, stars, rock etc. and the birthday present at the end which you can peek through to see the page before was her absolute favorite. I need to purchase another copy for her because she has just about worn it out!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a previous K teacher, both my students and I have always loved this book. Eric Carle is a master, not only with his vivid, eye-catching illustrations, but also in knowing exactly what would appeal to a child. Having a birthday, waking up to a secret message, being led through all the clues including small cut-outs in the pages, to discover the surprise gift - totally enchanting for a child. Finding the puppy at the end, especially for dog-lovers, has got to be the ultimate gift. After retiring, this is one book I could not give away. Highly recommended.
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By A Customer on April 8, 2001
Format: Board book
This book is about a boy (Tim) who had received a secret message for his birthday. You must follow the message, which is teaching shapes and through the wonderful illustrations catches the concepts of these shapes associated with this world. The pictures wonderful as all of Eric Carle's are and this is a fun adventure!
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
This is a very unique Carle book. Your child can learn more about shapes and how to follow clues to lead to the next step. My daughter enjoyed reading the story and following the "clues" to the next shape to find the present at the end - a puppy.

If you take the story literally as an adult, you will agree with one of the reviewers that was upset a puppy was being stored in a cave/basement. But it's not meant to be taken literally. It's a fantastical journey for children. To this day, my daughter enjoys following the trail to the present waiting for her at the end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book and has such an adventure waiting for you as you read it. Has a maze and have to work your way back. Can go wrong with Eric Carle books anyway. My grandkids love this book and very colorful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is such a fun book to read to children. The format of the book is clever and different and Eric Carle's illustrations are always terrific. Our beloved kindergarten teacher would always read this book to her incoming students on "Meet the Teacher Night". I would recommend it for kindergarten age children or younger. I just bought two copies, one for a birthday gift and one for my daughter's classroom who will be teaching kindergarten for the first time.
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Format: Board book
Prior to my grandson's 3rd birthday, I gave him several books about birthdays. This one was his favorite. He was immediately drawn into searching through the clues which use directional words such as below, behind . . . He was breathless to find the surprise at the end of the book. And I'm not telling what the surprise is;it's a secret. I will tell you that it's a gift that most every child dreams of receiving. Of course, Eric Carle's art work is magical. Make a child's day--give him or her this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My four-year-old son loves this book. It makes a special birthday gift that is kind of like a game and book in one.
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