Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Asch

I sometimes tell my youngest students if someone gave me just ten minutes to grab my favorite books this is a book would be at the top of my pile. Of course this is just a game but Happy Birthday Moon is an absolute favorite of mine.

Little Bear looks up at the Moon and wonders about his Birthday. “But bear didn’t know when the moon’s birthday was, or what to get him.” Frank Asch always includes a little hint (often with a science base) at the beginning of each of his books about Moonbear. If you look carefully inside Moon Game, Moon Cake, Skyfire and Bear Shadow you will see four boxes on the first page. In Happy Birthday Moon these boxes show the moon moving or perhaps the Earth is moving or both.

Bear decides the moon would like a hat. He makes this choice after climbing to the top of a very high mountain to have a little chat with the moon. “Tell me,’ asked Bear, ‘When is your birthday?’ ‘Tell me when is your birthday?’ replied the moon.”

Can you guess what is going on here? It is an echo but bear does not realize this of course. The delight is that every young reader immediately recognizes what is going on here. One of the funniest moments, where we see Bear still has no idea this is an echo, comes right near the end. Bear buys a lovely hat for the moon and places it in a tree. The moon appears to climb the tree and he tries on the hat which fits perfectly. During the night the hat blows and lands on Bears doorstep. He naturally assumes the moon has bought him a hat too. At this exact moment the lovely hat blows away. Bear climbs the mountain again. “For a long time the moon would not speak to him so Bear spoke first.” These lines always make me smile.

If you do not know about the talented Frank Asch and you are looking for books to read to your youngest child you must run into your nearest library and seek them out. Every single one is a winner! I have already talked about this author but I wanted to especially mention Happy Birthday Moon. The Weston Woods DVD is also a real gem!

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