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Happy Birthday to You! Hardcover – August 12, 1959
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"The Great Birthday Bird guides us on a birthday trip. The multicolored excursion is a festive one."--School Library Journal.
From the Hardcover Library Binding edition.
From the Inside Flap
Illus. in color. "The Great Birthday Bird guides us on a birthday trip. The multicolored excursion is a festive one."--"School Library Journal.
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Top Customer Reviews
You don't have to be a kid to enjoy Dr. Seuss.
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.
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!