SUMMARY Ø The Meanest Birthday Girl

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SUMMARY Ø The Meanest Birthday Girl ñ It’s Dana’s birthday so she can do what she likes And what Dana likes to do is pinch And call people names And steal her classmates’ desserts You probably know a kid like Dana What can stop her from being so mean In this story it’s not what you might expect Because sometimes it takes a little creativIt’s Dana’s birthday so she can do what she likes And what Dana likes to do is pinch And call people names And steal her classmates’ desserts You probably know. Life is easier when you can categorize it When you can slot it in a distinct category and reduce everything to black and white terms Gray is problematic and messy after all This type of thinking certainly applies to how people learn how to read If you're a library you separate your written fiction into five distinct locations Baby Board Books Picture Books Easy Readers Early Chapter Books and Middle Grade Fiction Easy peasy Couldn't be simpler And it would be an absolutely perfect system if in fact that was how humans actually learned how to read Wouldn't it be great if you could make mental leaps in difficulty from one book to another with sublime ease Yet the fact of the matter is that for all that leveling a collection or trying to systematically give each book a Lexile reading level makes life easier for the folks who don't want to bother to read the books themselves it's not so hotso for the kiddos Not everything written in this world can be easily summarized For this very reason I like books that don't slot well That are neither fish nor fowl And I particularly like extraordinary books that fall into this category Behold then the magnificent The Meanest Birthday Girl Simple straightforward and smart as all get out it's too long for an easy book too short for an early chapter book and entirely the wrong size for a picture book In other words perfectAs Dana sees it birthdays are great for one particular reason It was Dana's birthday and she could do whatever she liked Fortunately we're dealing with a young kid here so Dana's form of Bacchanalian abandon pretty much just boils down to eating waffles for breakfast and dinner showing off her birthday dress and torturing fellow student Anthony So it's with not a little surprise that Dana finds at the end of the day that Anthony has shown up on her stoop with the world's greatest birthday present There in the gleam of the house lights stands a white elephant with pink toenails and a pink bow Dana is elated and thinks that this is the best gift a gal could receive It isn't until she spends a little time with her white elephant gift that she begins to understand not just what a jerk she's been but how to spread the elephant love to those who need it the mostI'll confess to you right here and now that sometimes when I'm reviewing a book I find it helpful to look at the professional reviews so that I can nail down exactly WHY it is I like such n' such a book I mean I liked the art and the story and the characters here sure But what I really liked was what the book was trying to say Small difficulty I'm not entirely certain what that was Is this a book about the selflessness of parenthood or is the elephant a metaphor of unchecked desires So I turned to the professionals PW said the book both makes amends and pays it forward SLJ eschewed any complex interpretations just saying that this was a story about a girl and her pet than it is about birthday shenanigans The Horn Book Guide the book didn't even rate a proper Horn Book review found the message confusing while Kirkus gave the book a star and saw the elephant as simply a delivery system for a lesson about kindness None of these really do the plot justice though I sympathize with Horn Book Guide's confusion but I disagree that the message doesn't make any sense It just reuires the reader to dig a little deeper than your average Goosebumps novelHere's how I figure it Dana's mean She's given an elephant I love the idea that Anthony the victim may have previously been himself a pretty nasty customer to have had the elephant in the first place The elephant demands constant attention but subtly It could just be Dana's projections of what the elephant wants that undo her That means she's capable of empathy which in turn leads to her feeling bad for what she did to Anthony And then much of why this book works as well as it does has to do with the fact that the elephant isn't itself a bully If it were then the message of the book would be pounded into your skull like a hammer on a nail Far better then that this particular elephant is just uietly insistent It isn't incapable of emotion mind you I was particularly pleased with the look of intense concentration on its face as it attempts to ride Dana's rapidly crumpling bicycle The slickest elephant moment in the book visually is when its trunk makes a sly play for Dana's sandwich when she falls asleep under a tree but the last image as the elephant stands in front of its new owner is of eual note There you'll see its trunk making the gentlest of movements towards the girl's slice of birthday cake It doesn't take a Nostradamus to know that that's the last the girl will ever see of her cake from here on inIt was the PW review that probably did the best job of honing in on what makes this book special Said they the author serves justice and subtly and uite cleverly lets readers see another side to Dana That's not something that occurred to me on an early reading but it's entirely true You meet Dana her head resembling nothing so much in shape and size as those birthday balloons on the cover and she does unlikable thing after unlikable thing Then she gives up everything she has from sandwiches to her bike for a pachyderm Kids may not make an immediate leap in logic between what Dana does and what they themselves sometimes have to do willingly or unwillingly for their little siblings but it's there Schneider's best move however is to show Dana being teased by a fellow classmate Nothing cranks up the sympathy vote uite like someone suffering at the hands of another Hence by the time Dana formally apologizes to Anthony we're completely Team DanaThe art is all done in a simple execution of pen ink colored pencil and watercolor All of Schneider's kids look like escapees from L'il Orphan Annie comic strips They sport the same pupil less eyes Normally eyes without pupils are downright scary in some fashion but Schneider shrinks them down so that they're little than incredibly expressive Os Eyebrows go a long way towards conveying emotion anyway the shot of Anthony raising one very cross eyebrow as Dana systematically nabs his cupcake is fantastic Because Schneider's books all have a tendency to look the same Tales for Very Picky Eaters looks like The Meanest Birthday Girl looks like Princess Sparkle Heart Gets a Makeover etc there's a temptation to discount him Resist that urge His is a star that is rising with rocket like rapidity I see great things for this guy Great thingsThe age level for this will cause no end of sorrow amongst the cataloging masses I don't care The same could have been said for Sadie and Ratz another preternaturally smart early early chapter book with a psychological base worth remembering and a host of other books out there What it all boils down to is the fact that The Meanest Birthday Girl is one of the rare books that makes for really intelligent fare Odd Certainly But it's willing to go places and do things that most books for kids in the 6 9 age range don't dare Not everyone will get what it's trying to do And not everyone deserves to One of the best of 2013 bar noneFor ages 6 9

REVIEW Ü eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ï Josh Schneider

Ry large pet to change a mean kid’s ways Five short chapters with comical full color illustrations offer a fresh fun take on bullying and birthdays and pet elephan. It's Dana's birthday and she does whatever she likes including some not so nice things like pinching and name calling Despite her behavior she receives a wonderful gift a white elephant from a classmate she picked on Caring for the elephant proves to be too much for Dana and right when she's looking to offload the elephant another birthday rolls around that of another classmate who has been teasing her Dana lovingly prepares the elephant as a gift for her frenemyWatercolor pen and ink and colored pencil illustrationsThe text is chapter book than easy reader though the size of the book is that of an easy reader Funny and a good read aloud for grades 2 4

Josh Schneider Ï 8 SUMMARY

The Meanest Birthday GirlA kid like Dana What can stop her from being so mean In this story it’s not what you might expect Because sometimes it takes a little creativity and possibly a ve. Title italicize The Meanest Birthday Girl Author and Illustrator Josh Schneider Genre Early Reader Fiction Themes Birthday friendship attitude Opening linesentence type directly from text It was Dana’s birthday and she could do whatever she liked Brief Book Summary 2 3 sentences in your own words This book is about a young girl Dana who was not very nice on her birthday She wasn’t treating her classmates nicely and she was being a diva One of her classmates Anthony gave her a large white elephant the night of her birthday The elephant taught Dana a valuable lesson and she apologized for being so rude to her classmates Dana then gave the elephant to a girl in her class Gertrude on her birthday to teach her a lesson as well Professional RecommendationReview #1 cut pasteAnn Kelley Booklist May 1 2013 Vol 109 No 17 Dana’s birthday has gone to her head Because it’s her Special Day Dana could do whatever she liked which includes calling Anthony a name Ickaborse pinching him and then eating his dessert at lunch But Dana gets her comeuppance when Anthony gives her a birthday gift an elephant whose toenails are painted pink and pink is Dana’s favorite color The elephant is a novelty at first but soon its taking over Danas life by eating her food sleeping in her bed and riding her bicycle Luckily after apologizing to Anthony he reminds her that its Gertrude s birthday Wonder what she is getting as a gift from Dana In five short humorous stories with whimsical watercolor illustrations this beginning chapter book by a Geisel Award winner should appeal to every new reader s sense of fun especially if they’ve ever had a diva moment And really who hasn t Grades K 3 PUBLISHER Clarion Books Boston PUBLISHED 2013 Professional RecommendationReview #2 cut pasteBonita Herold Children's Literature Since it is her birthday Dana feels she can do anything she wants She eats her favorite breakfast puts on her fanciest dress and walks to the bus stop where she pinches Anthony and calls him an Ickaborse It is her right She shows off her dress and steals Anthony’s dessert As the birthday girl she deserves it When her friends leave her party she has one last surprise visitor Anthony turns up with a white elephant with toenails painted in Dana’s favorite color But is the elephant the wonderful present it seems at first to be In this story as much about selfishness as it is about payback Dana comes to the conclusion that maybe just maybe she was a little bit mean Beginning readers including divas bullies victims and just about anyone in between are bound to love this story about growing up and finding out that the world does not necessarily revolve around them As a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner Schneider illustrates his own story beautifully 2013 Clarion BooksHoughton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company 1499 Ages 6 to 9 PUBLISHER Clarion Books Boston PUBLISHED 2013 Response to Two Professional Reviews 3 4 sentences in your own words Both reviews give an overview of the book as a whole and then praise the story for its humor Both believe that all children would love this book and I agree Everyone can be a diva at times both boys and girls This story teaches children that the world doesn't revolve around them while using humor that they would enjoy Evaluation of Literary Elements 3 4 sentences in your own words The plot of this story is easy for beginning readers to understand as well as humorous The illustrations in this book are catching to the eye because the colors used on the white pages truly stick out There is a lot of pink and orange when Dana is being a diva and then a lot of blues and purples when she is learning her lesson and not as happy This is a good use of color to express emotion The characters in this story are easy to follow and there is a main boy character Anthony that makes this book not only appealing to girls but to boys as well Consideration of Instructional Application 3 4 sentences in your own words I would use this book in a second grade classroom as a read aloud I would use this as a read aloud because it teaches a valuable lesson in a fun way I can picture my class enjoying this After reading this story I would discuss it with my class and have them write a paragraph about when they learned from the book