By Cynthia Lord
Scholastic, $16.99, 32 pages

“Best day, bake day, candles on a cake day! Clap day, cheer day, party time is here day!” When Hamster wakes up, he is looking forward to celebrating his birthday. But when he asks his friend Dog about any special plans, Dog seems to have forgotten all about it! Dog has errands to do and Hamster tags along. At the bakery, Hamster eyes a huge frosting covered cake, but Dog is just there to buy dog biscuits. At the toy store, Hamster points out a fun bike he’d like to ride, but Dog is looking for a ball. What Hamster does not realize is that while Dog is keeping him occupied, their friends are getting everything ready to throw Hamster an awesome party!

In her book Happy Birthday, Hamster, author Cynthia Lord writes in cheerful rhyme, perfect for setting the mood for Hamster’s special day. Derek Anderson’s acrylic illustrations are bright and celebratory. Surprise birthdays are fun to plan and even more fun for the person (or animal!) who is surprised. If you love Hamster’s birthday story, check out Hot Rod Hamster, the story of how Hamster builds his dream car.


Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin,