Happy Happy Birthday Birthday!
It’s time to put on your party clothes and fancy shoes: for our first Soup of the Day for 2013, we’re celebrating a birthday book’s book birthday! Got that?
And I’m doubly, even triple-y excited because it was written by one of my favorite author/poets, Liz Garton Scanlon, and beautifully illustrated by Brooklyn-based artist Stephanie Graegin, who did such a brilliant job that it’s hard to believe it’s her very first picture book. You know how much I love featuring “first books.” I totally agree with Kirkus, who called Stephanie “an up-and-coming artist to watch” in their *starred review*. Hooray!
But more about Happy Birthday, Bunny! (Beach Lane Books, 2013), right after we suit up for the festivities.
First, please select a party hat, with or without bunny ears:
As the book says, we must have fancy shoes. Choose between these adorable lambs wool bunny slippers,
or these soft leather rabbit and carrot shoes. Cute, no?
Here at Alphabet Soup, we believe in bibs. Try this one on for size:
And we definitely want to make lots of joyful noise today. Feel free to sing, dance, play your accordion and shake shake shake your
Okay, lookin’ good! Let’s party!
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♥ Serving up Happy Birthday, Bunny! ♥
(I’m all ears.)
Since I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, my wittle whiskers happily twitched just seeing the title. In this sweet story, we’re invited to a toddler-ish bunny’s birthday party. She endears herself to us immediately with her earnest, ingenuous questions as she delights in each and every part of the experience.
What are these and what are those?
Fancy shoes and party clothes!
Someone’s knocking — who is here?
Peekaboo, it’s Nana, dear.
Getting dressed, decorating, setting out food, greeting guests, singing, chatting, dancing, blowing out the candles, opening presents, taking pictures, and reminiscing are all joyfully played out through simple rhyming text and winsome, digitally colored and assembled pencil-and-ink washes. Liz and Stephanie have lovingly captured the innocent wonder and ears-up excitement of the quintessential child’s birthday party set aglow with the warmth of family and friends.
Stephanie’s nattily dressed rabbits and woodland animals are emotive, animated and wonderfully charming without being too cutesy, and her pictures have a tender, old fashioned, timeless feel about them. Little ones will enjoy pointing to the bunnies, owls, foxes, beavers, raccoon, and skunk, as they learn about, re-experience and/or look forward to their own birthdays. Who doesn’t love a big yummy cake and being the center of attention? Beat by beat, the lilting cadence of Liz’s carefully honed couplets sets just the right pace for all the action, making this a fun, classic read aloud eager munchkins will ask for again and again.
In addition to the glowing review from Kirkus, Happy Birthday, Bunny! has also garnered another well deserved *starred review* from Publishers Weekly, who said, “. . . it’s pure celebration, and readers will share wholeheartedly in the pleasure.” Tippity top!
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♥ Let’s Eat! ♥
Bibs on and spoons ready? Ears and whiskers clean?
Please join me now in congratulating Liz and Stephanie, our favorite bunny girls of 2013. The Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers had fun cutting out carrot flowers to decorate the soup bowl and are still debating over whether the flowers themselves or the scraps taste better. While they are still munching on both, feel free to dip deep and slurp your good wishes with gleeful gustatory gusto. And since you just happen to look extra fetching today, we’ll even pretend it’s your birthday too!
With our soup, a special Ensalad Petite Bouquet,
and Orange Blossom Carrot Salad:
Yes, I can hear you panting for dessert.
In honor of Liz, Yoga Pose Cupcakes,
and in honor of Stephanie, Chocolate Groundhog Cupcakes (her birthday is on Groundhog Day):
Because it’s your birthday too, hare’s a big piece of carrot cake :
When you’re done wrapping your lips around that, help yourself to some bunny cookies
and balloon cookie pops.
What would a party be without presents? Hare’s a little something for you to take home:
Now my furry friends, you know the drill.
Hop on over to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to snatch up a copy or two or three hundred of Happy Birthday, Bunny! If you go to a brick and mortar store, wear bunny ears or dress up as one of bunny’s forest friends. While you’re waiting in line, play the accordion or strike your tambourine to get the other customers in a good mood while you tell them all about the book. Don’t forget to bring the cashier a cupcake and a balloon, and say the secret password “Honey Bun” if you’d like a discount.
HAPPY PUB DAY, LIZ AND STEPHANIE!
WELCOME TO THE WORLD, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUNNY!!
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUNNY!
written by Liz Garton Scanlon
illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published by Beach Lane Books, January 2013
Picture Book for ages 2-5
Cool themes: birthdays, celebrations, parties, babies, rhyming stories
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♥ HAPPY RETURNS ♥
- Liz Garton Scanlon’s Official Website and LiveJournal Blog, Liz in Ink
- Stephanie Graegin’s Official Website and Tumblr
- Heads up, lucky Austin-area peeps: Liz will be reading and signing books at Book People on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 2 p.m.
- More Soup of the Day posts here.
*Spreads from Happy Birthday, Bunny! posted by permission of the publisher. Text copyright © 2013 Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrations © 2013 Stephanie Graegin, published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.