Book Review: When’s My Birthday? By Fogliano & Robinson

Once again, Christian Robinson’s illustrations have stolen my attention and heart. I’ve had my eye on this book coming out since the first illustration hints I saw on Robinson’s Instagram. I saved it as an idea for potential gift giving for one of my children, but then it came out this September and who am I kidding, I wanted it for me! Take a peek at this marvelous new collaboration between the delightfully poetic author, Julie Fogliano and the brilliantly clever illustrator, Christian Robinson. Here is When’s My Birthday?

First things first, the trim size is fantastic. A little over six inches wide and about 11 inches tall, the book feels extra special. A size you don’t see often, just like a birthday that you only get once a year.

Open the book and you are greeted by cheery endpapers – one of my favorite bonus materials.

Fogliano’s text is poetic and childlike – asking about time, place, activity, and guests for “my” elusive birthday. I have always admired her writing style, reminiscent of my favorite Ruth Krauss, and she continues to be brilliantly paired with incredible artists that are on my personal children’s book stars list. I love the first person voice of the text. It feels personal and draws you into the curiosity and difficulty of waiting for one’s birthday.

Robinson’s art is a joy, as usual. His combination of acrylic and collage techniques have an adorable feel with just enough space and lightness to increase the maturity and charm. I detect a strong mid-century vibe in the illustrations, and several spreads reminded me of the much-beloved artist Abner Graboff. Robinson’s play on size is quite possibly one of my favorite things in this book, although the various animals wearing party hats is a close rival. Birthdays feel bigger than real life and Robinson matched that feeling with imagery. Giant presents, giant cakes, giant animals attending a tiny kid’s party. Everyone is invited to this joyous event and wear whatever suits your party style!

I adore birthdays and begin my own countdown months in advance. My five year old has also picked up on the joy of birthdays and the questions in this book echoed what I hear quite often (without the gloom and dismay when the answer is “far away”).

Join in this marvelous celebration of the excited, overwhelming anticipation of a birthday! Truly a “happy happy day to me!” and you!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: When’s My Birthday? By Fogliano & Robinson

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