Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy

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Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy

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Buy Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A cute tale of a birthday party. It's sweet without being sickly, but some elements of the story feel a little forced, even for a picture book. It's still worth a look.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Orchard
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408312445

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It's Fizz and Flora's birthday, so Muffin the bear gets ready for the party, and decides to take them a big bag of sugar buns as a present. On his walk to the party, Muffin gets a little bit peckish and has a bit of a nibble of one bun, then another, then another. Erk! He puts the empty bag on the pile of presents and enjoys the party game. Will there be a way to turn an empty bag into a much-loved present?

Muffin and the Birthday Surprise is a sweet tale. It has all the excitement of a birthday party, without being wild-eyed and noisy. Young children who are just starting to get a feel for the wonder of parties will smile throughout. The text is clear and direct, perfectly pitched at its young audience. The core party plot works well, but there were some elements I was less keen on. That Fizz gives Flora a stick for her birthday just seems odd - it's an unnatural choice included solely that the empty bag can be turned into a flag. It's great to see that they're making good from a bad situation, but it feels forced and takes anyone even a smidge more cynical than the average 2yo out of the story.

Clara Vulliamy's illustrations are as cute as ever. Everything is big, bold, bright and cuddly. They'll particularly appeal to young children - they're good, solid picture book fare, but not the sort of illustrations you'd grab someone and insist they pore over. Muffin, Fizz and Flora are all brimming with friendly personality and you'd love to be invited to their party.

The young audience of Muffin and the Birthday Surprise will enjoy themselves, but any older brothers and sisters might lose interest after the first couple of reads. There's still plenty to put a smile on your face, but it's not the sort of book that will immediately become a firm favourite. Take a look, particularly if you've got a birthday party coming up.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For other party books, check out Small Knight and George and the Royal Chocolate Cake by Ronda Armitage and Arthur Robins, Zebedee's Zoo by Giles Milton and Katharine McEwen, Don't Lose Pigley, Wibbly Pig! by Mick Inkpen and Not Last Night But The Night Before by Colin McNaughton and Emma Chichester-Clark.

Buy Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon.com.

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