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Item - Little Pig's Birthday

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(American hardcover edition)
(British edition)
(British edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Your First Adventure — no. 2
Translated Into: L'aniversari (Catalan)
L'anniversaire de Petit Cochon (French)
El cumpleaƱos del Chanchito (Spanish)
El cumpleaƱos (Spanish)
Urtebetetzea (Basque)
Author: Leonard, Marcia
Illustrator: Hockerman, Dennis
Date: May, 1984 (American hardcover edition)
ISBN: 055315267X / 9780553152678
Length: 18 pages
Number of Endings: 1
User Summary: You are a little pig, and it's your birthday. Your parents have only given you a funny hat, and none of your friends seem to be around to wish you a happy birthday.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish translation by Timun Mas).

This anthropomorphic animal adventure is explicitly designed to be read aloud to very young children. It is illustrated in full colour, with foldable flaps in most pages. These flaps allow children to have a moving picture experience not unlike TV or cinema. The branching path structure is very simple, as there is only one choice point and one ending. Nonetheless, both the dynamic illustration scheme and the interactive storyline should provide good entertainment for children of the target age group. Moreover, the shortness of the book is adequate to the attention span of most toddlers. The book's single ending is a happy one (obviously), but parents and children should have fun going back and exploring the path they missed the first time. Overall, this is a very good introduction to interactive literature for the target audience.

More reviews by Guillermo

KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Bantam's Your First Adventure series from the 1980s is perhaps the most consistent product of the entire Choose Your Own Adventure franchise. The stories are simple, yet more cohesive and wise than your average gamebook for older kids, and feature lovely, nostalgic illustrations. In Little Pig's Birthday, you are a young pig excited for your big day, but it hasn't gone as hoped so far. The gift you especially want is a tricycle, but instead your parents give you a beanie hat with a propeller on top. It's disappointing, but worse is that none of your friends have stopped by to acknowledge your birthday. Your mom and dad suggest you go have fun outside for a while, but do you want to take a short walk or try to find your friends?

Your friends don't seem to be in any of the usual places if you go look for them: the bridge out back of your house, the fancy cart that sells'd expect to see someone you know by now. Hints in the illustrations indicate the well-orchestrated surprise you're headed for, guaranteed to brighten your day. If you choose to play by yourself rather than search for your friends, a series of arrow signposts just outside the door of your house point to a ball of string, which leads you on a winding route past the birdbath and through a hollow log, to the gate in rear of your house. Your birthday isn't a bust after all; the surprise that greets you upon opening the gate will be a memory to cherish for many birthdays to come.

When you're looking forward to a big moment, it doesn't feel good if the moment fails to materialize. It's as though you lost something, a pleasant memory snatched from your mind before it could happen. But don't give up too quickly; go with the flow, and by day's end the experience may be sweeter even than what you envisioned. An unexpected detour for adventure can be the cherry on top that your special day needed to feel complete.

These Your First Adventure books aren't as high-stakes as the main Choose Your Own Adventure or Bantam Skylark series, but they ring true to the heart and mind of a preschooler. There's always a single choice, and the two narrative branches eventually rejoin at the same happy ending, but this makes sense. A preschool kid has the ability to make choices that change the course of their own daily story, but it's reassuring to know your parents are superintending the adventure so it will end the right way. As the little pig, whatever you choose to do won't cause you to miss the birthday celebration your parents have planned. I love Dennis Hockerman's illustrations for this book, which I consider among the best in the series. Spending time in these pages is a treat.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the American cover scan and to Ryan Lynch for the British cover images.
Users Who Own This Item: Arkadia, exaquint, KenJenningsJeopardy74, knginatl (HB, PB), ntar, waktool (UK edition, 1st printing (blue))
Users Who Want This Item: NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual

Known Editions

British edition
American hardcover edition

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