Happy Birthday to You!

Book review by
Robyn Raymer, Common Sense Media
Happy Birthday to You! Book Poster Image
Celebratory tale soars with wordplay and crazy invention.

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age 13+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

Children who are afraid of heights may fear the long stairways extending into space and the boy's dive from one Mustard-Off Pool to another.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Happy Birthday to You! is a classic, exuberant Seuss book that's fun for any age. Kids love watching the Birthday Bird go to great lengths to make sure the birthday boy has a fabulous day. And Dr. Seuss' illustrations of crazy architecture and zany transportation gizmos are sure to delight.

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What's the story?

Happy Birthday! A kindly Katroovian Birthday Bird bustles a boy out of bed and out of town on a Smorgasbord's back (luxury seating and breakfast included). So begins a long, glorious day and night of gift-getting, snacking, hot-tubbing, and partying with the calm, cheery bird as pamperer-in-chief. This nurturing tale frisks, soars, and lopes along with finger-poppin' wordplay.


Is it any good?

This is a sweet story without being saccharine. The watercolor illustrations are painted in nostalgic 1950s pastels accented with red, bright yellow, and black, and feature Dr. Seuss's trademark curvy, soaring architecture.

It's touching that there's an entire Katroovian "Asso-see-eye-ation" and several specialized Clubs devoted to making sure kids feel like a million bucks on their birthdays. Such nurturing is law in Katroo: The Birthday Bird follows an established set of rules and customs. The Birthday Bird is well organized and experienced with children: Sensibly, he intersperses calming, refreshing activities -- such as wienie roasting and bathing -- with more frenzied celebrating. This means the boy ends his special day in peaceful, satisfied slumber rather than cranky meltdown.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about birthday celebrations. What would you like to do on your special day. If the sky's the limit, what would you wish for?

  • How does this book compare with other Seuss books you've read?

  • Make up and draw some funny creatures of your own.

Book details

  • Author: Dr. Seuss
  • Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
  • Genre: Holiday
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publication date: August 12, 1958
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
  • Number of pages: 56
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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