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The Backwards Birthday Party
Contributor(s): Chapin, Tom, Forster, John, Groenink, Chuck (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 1442467983     ISBN-13: 9781442467989
Publisher: Atheneum
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Binding Type: School And Library - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: February 2015

Annotation: A lively picture book story based on the hit song features young party-goers who celebrate at a backward birthday party by wearing inside-out clothing, heating up their ice cream and hanging on to their party hats.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Children's songs, English; United States; Texts.
Humorous songs.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Birthdays
- Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
Dewey: 782.42
LCCN: 2012043784
Academic/Grade Level: Kindergarten, Ages 5-6
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 11.25" H x 10.25" W x 0.25" (1.20 lbs)
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 175077
Reading Level: 2.4   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Fall)
On backwards birthday party day (i.e., opposite day), "the ice cream was hot. / The candles were not." The narrator doesn't mind: he's partying with friends from his all-animal guest list. The refrain makes obvious that the text is really song lyrics, but this doesn't wreck the party. Groenink finds the balance between spotlighting the mayhem and maintaining eye-pleasing order. Sheet music included.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 December #2)

A topsy-turvy song from Chapin's 1994 children's recording, Zag Zig, becomes an equally zippy picture book. The celebration at hand is a boy's birthday party that begins one morning when "the sun was sinking low" and wraps up in the glare of day, when the boy notes, "And I was one year younger than I'd been the day before." In the intervening hours, party guests eat birthday cake first ("The ice cream was hot./ The candles were not") and allow a blindfolded donkey to pin a tail on them (even the typography gets in on the fun, reading from bottom to top in an early scene). Madcap silliness reigns "at the backwards birthday party!/ the partyday birthwards back," and Groenink (Santa Clauses) keeps pace, creating a rowdy menagerie of animal partygoers (an ape puffs into the wrong end of a clarinet, a cat and goose share a pair of pants) who sing and dance the night away—or is it morning? The mixed-media illustrations hum with energy, movement, and color, capturing the spirit of this anything-goes celebration. Ages 4–8. Illustrator's agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 December)

PreS-Gr 2—This is an admirably illustrated version of a catchy tune created by Chapin and Forster in 1994 on the album Zig Zag. Youngsters will delight in the story's wackiness: "On my birthday/morning/the sun/was/sinking/low./I put my clothes on inside out/and down the stairs did go." Nonconformity abounds with an incongruous progression of events and backwards text among the title and illustrations, along with the silly refrain "The backwards birthday party! The partyday birthwards back." The birthday boy, with his modish look, is surrounded by almost two-dozen happy animal friends in colorful yet muted tones created with pencil, Photoshop, and gouache. The detailed illustrations, the backwards text, and the illogical succession of events offer great opportunities for discussion, especially letter knowledge and narrative skills, and, of course, there's the added benefit of singing the text as well. Music is included on the endpapers.—Gaye Hinchliff, King County Library System, WA

[Page 98]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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