The Secret Birthday Message – Eric Carle

by Paul on May 20, 2008

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Sippy Cup Book of the Week

“On the night before Tim’s birthday he found a strange envelope under his pillow. He sat up straight in his bed and opened the letter. Inside was a Secret Message! And this is what it said:”

So begins Eric Carle‘s book The Secret Birthday Message. Pretty good start, huh? After all, who can resist a secret message, especially one described with Capital Letters! And what did little Tim get for his birthday? Did he get a bike? Did he get a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB gun with a compass in the stock? Or, did he receive a Nintendo Wii (OK, that is my secret birthday wish)? No, he got something else, something you will find at the end of the book.

My daughter received this book as a gift right around her first birthday last year. This book was an immediate hit with her, saying and signing “more” after each reading. More than that, the book proved to be a real “page turner”, as she would often turn the page before I had a chance to finish reading.

As far as the book goes, the Secret Message does play a very big part of the story. Each page of the book is a shape, cutout pictures such as a star, rocks, a cave entrance and a wall. Each picture only half conceals the next page, which encourages the little listener to want to turn the page to see what’s coming next. At the end of the book is an opening through which is a pair of eyes. When you turn the page, you find Tim’s birthday present is a puppy. This was my daughter’s favorite part. She love it when I turned the page and yelled “A Puppy!” I can’t tell you how many giggles I got from this.

The illustrations in the book are very vivid and colorful as with all of Eric Carle‘s books. You may not even know his name, but I guarantee if you see one of his books, you would recognize his style. For example, you may be familiar with such books as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book I loved as a child.

The combination of the unique, colorful artwork and the interesting plot leads me to give this book five sippy cups!

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