HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Otis and Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever
Author: Laura Numeroff
Illustrator: Dan Andreasen
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010
Related website: www.abramsyoungreaders.com (publisher)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 4-7
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Numeroff, Laura. Otis and Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever (published in 2010 by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams, 115 W. 18th St., New York City, NY 10011). What would happen if you had a party and no one came? Otis and Sydney are two lovable bears. Once when it was raining Otis’s umbrella broke and Sydney invited him to share his umbrella. They discovered that they had a lot in common, like dressing in silly costumes, playing tug-of-war, and jumping on a trampoline, and soon they became best friends. Every year, they gave each other a birthday party.
But this year, Otis decides to throw a special birthday party for Sidney and invite all of their friends. So he mails the invitations, and then when the day arrives he decorates the house, makes a cake, and waitsand waitsand waits. However, when no one comes, he finally realizes that he got the date wrong on the invitations, and now it’s too late to change anything. How will Sydney feel when he arrives and no one has come to his birthday party? And is there anything that Otis can do to make sure that Sydney still has the best birthday ever?
Anyone familiar with children’s literature will recognize the name of author Laura Numeroff from her bestselling If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and other similar delightful books. Otis and Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever, having illustrations by Dan Andreasen done in pen and ink with digital coloring, is a lovely story of true friendship. Perhaps in a day when television and computers have bred in kids a desire always to expect the biggest and the grandest, young readers may be amazed at the simple surprise ending to the surprise birthday party.