By Kate Stone
Accord Publishing, $10.99, 16 pages

Surprise! It is Mouse’s birthday and his best friends have planned something to make his day incredibly special. What’s better than a surprise party? Curious preschool readers will enjoy Kate Stone’s Happy Birthday, Mouse!. So much goes into the world of party planning. With each turn of the page, more of the party unfolds. After picking a date, Birdie delivers the invitations. Octopus decorates the yard with hanging lanterns, bobbing balloons, silly streamers and a delicious cake. Now it’s time to hide! Zebra, Bear and Rabbit help shout “Surprise!” when Mouse walks into the backyard. Yummy cake and ice cream delight everyone. What cool presents will Mouse get? Kids will enjoy brainstorming the ideal gift to give a mouse. Stone’s art features brightly colored creatures. Watercolor illustrations of Mouse and his friends are cheerful and festive. This chunky board book’s sturdy construction will stand up to the demands of little hands and repetitive reading. Unlike a regular book, this one opens and closes with Velcro. Each page overlaps the next one and the book folds together like a map. These features keep readers engaged and help develop hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity. Enjoy the fun ending as Mouse opens his gifts.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin