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Oscar’s Half Birthday

by Bob Graham

Published by Candlewick Press, 2005
32 pages
ISBN: 0-7636-2699-6

Ages 3-6

Oscar’s family celebrates his six-month birthday with a walk to their neighborhood park, a rather lopsided cake, and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” sung by family members and the strangers who have gathered around to admire baby Oscar. Although the birthday boy is the center of attention, the real star of the show is his three-year-old sister, Millie, who wears coat-hanger fairy wings on her back and a dinosaur puppet on her left hand, symbolic of her dual nature. “A little more fairy and a little less dinosaur,” her mother chides her gently when Millie’s play is a bit too vigorous for little Oscar. Bob Graham’s depiction of a slightly offbeat, interracial family is right on target: Millie, in her behavior and dialogue, is the quintessential three year old, commanding the attention of both her parents and the book’s readers, while Oscar remains, for the most part, completely oblivious to the fuss being made over him. The parents, young and hip, are everything good parents should be: caring, attentive, firm, and, above all, they seem to truly enjoy both of their children. Graham’s trademark pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings show a diverse cast of characters living in a working class neighborhood. Highly Commended, 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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