by, Illustrated By
The Blue Sky Press
"The Birthday Queen does everything possible to make sure birthday celebrations are perfect.
It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Invitations need to be written and sent. Clowns must be carefully screened. And of course, every single birthday game must be tried and approved. But when it comes to readers’ birthdays? The Birthday Queen steps it up a notch. She whips up a celebration at a moment’s notice, complete with cake to exact specifications, beautifully wrapped presents and balloons that fly into place as soon as the guests arrive. Just who is the Birthday Queen? If "you" look closely—the narration is in the second person—beneath the jeweled crown and past the bright rainbow dress, readers just may recognize someone special in their own family (so long as their mothers are white and present). In a wild frenzy reminiscent of a Candy Land board explosion, colors burst forth from every page. The Birthday Queen herself is not pretty in pink; she is a brightly rouged, belly-laughing, apple-cheeked blonde. Kids will get swept up in the birthday excitement, while adult readers will recognize the small moments of manic preparation—which always "magically" turn out in the end. It’s just too bad, given the seemingly inclusive direct address, that this queen-cum-mom is ethnically specific, leaving kids whose moms are not white out in the cold.
A sly, though problematic, nod of appreciation to mothers, hidden behind streamers, confetti and a mouthful of cake." - Kirkus Reviews
"If Christmas has Santa Claus and teeth have the Tooth Fairy, why not a Birthday Queen for birthdays? The Woods (It’s Duffy Time!) imagine a magical, multitasking regent who’s an indefatigable combination of party planner, Underwriters Laboratory (?When her clowns are invited to parties, the Birthday Queen must make sure they are funny?), fixer (if the bakery screws up a cake order, she whips up a substitute), and hostess with the mostess. Any resemblance between the Birthday Queen and a young celebrant’s mother, is, of course, coincidental. Audrey Wood’s short, breezy prose and Don Wood’s candy-colored spreads, which mingle slapstick with surrealism, hold sentimentality at bay; a gift-wrapping scene is a riot of wrapping paper, tape, and birthday magic, which comes courtesy of the queen’s three wands. But let’s face it: this is a tribute intended to spark at least the flickers of gratitude in the hearts of birthday boys and girls. As such, it’s more likely to be appreciated by Birthday Queens themselves (or anyone else who’s helmed a children’s party) than by those whose birthdays are being celebrated." - Publishers Weekly
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