"The moon will soon rise, and the sun has just set,
But it’s still not my birthday yet..."
My little guy, Oliver, loves birthdays. He just turned 3 in September and every week for the six months previous to it he asked incessantly about his party and who would be there and how old he would be and what we would eat. Every birthday party we attended for other children was met with ridiculous amounts of excitement and boisterous renditions of the 'Happy Birthday' song for days leading up and following. But really who could blame him? Who doesn't like birthdays and parties?
I am guessing Oliver's enthusiasm was something he got from me. Since he was born I've put a fair amount of effort into making sure that his birthdays have been special and have created a few traditions for our family to keep it interesting, like telling stories about my pregnancy and his birth or making only his favourite foods on that day. The most intentional tradition I started was to theme his birthday celebrations around our favourite books. His first birthday was a indoor picnic style lunch based on 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carly; His second a wild rumpus that would make Maurice Sendak, Author and illustrator of 'Where The Wild Things Are' very proud; and just this year we celebrated over cookies at an 'If You Give A Mouse A Cookie' party based on the book by Laura J Numeroff. With the literary love showing through in our birthday celebrations I was quite Intrigued when I was approached by Joni Rubinstein about her book "The Night Before My Birthday" illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.
"The Night Before My Birthday" was written in the spirit of creating family traditions to enhance the excitement and anticipation children seem to bounce with leading up to their birthdays and to highlight how special it is for the whole family to celebrate the birth of their cherished little members. It isn't an everyday book but meant to be read on the eve of the child's birthday as a special tradition.
In order to write this review we were sent a hardcover keepsake copy of the book and since it was only a few weeks after Oliver's real birthday we totally cheated and read it a couple times (I have since put it away so that it will still be fresh and new and exciting in ten and a half months). When I asked Oliver what he liked best about the book he -of coarse- said that it was about birthdays but when I pressed a little further he seemed to really take to the page about dreams featuring a beautiful illustration of fluffy flying sheep:
"The moon will then rise and glow while I sleep,
On white puffy clouds like fat fluffy sheep."
He was also quite impressed by the fact that the book 'knew' he was three years old (The book is written with blank spaces where you can say the age your child is turning each year).
My favourite part of the book is the extra keepsake pages in the back where you can record the date, your child's name and age, and who read the story that year. I like that there are lots of spaces provided so that many years from now I imagine I will be able to look back and remember several children having this book read to them on the eve of their birthdays.
I also really appreciate that the images in this book feature families of many different backgrounds and make ups. The lack of diversity in the vast majority of children's literature out there is a whole other post for another day but needless to say the inclusiveness of this book makes me just that much happier to make it a part of our family's birthday traditions.
This book would make an excellent gift for children of all ages and their family and if you order it from the website $1 of each purchase goes to direct aid and research charities which help children living with serious illnesses reach more birthdays. So really, there's no good reason why you don't need a copy!
Joni has generously offered to give away another copy to one of our readers as part of this review, please fill out the following wigit to gain up to 10 entries plus the chance to earn an entry per day until the contest closes. This contest is open to all and will remain open from today (11/12/2012) until Midnight on Sunday November 25th. The winner will be announced via the Connected Mom Facebook page on Monday November 26th and contacted via email. Good Luck!
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