Review Blog

Jun 12 2014

Boa's bad birthday by Jeanne Willis

cover image

Ill. by Tony Ross. Koala Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742760957.
(Age: 4-6) Animals. Snakes. Birthdays. This odd little story of a boa waiting impatiently for the presents his friends will bring to him, offers a rather negative perspective about friendship and birthdays.
He is incredulous when the orangutan brings a piano as he has no fingers with which to play. He smarts when monkey brings sunglasses when he hasn't any ears or nose to hold them up. He is disappointed when the jaguar brings him mittens as he has no hands, and is happy when the sloth appears. Surely he will bring something nice. But no, the gift is a hairbrush. And so on, until the dung beetle brings a piece of dung which grows into a beautiful tree for the boa to sleep in. The last pages have a twist which will intrigue younger readers, and perhaps initiate discussions about what you do when someone gives you an unwanted present.
I liked the illustrations, they are funny and quirky, but I found some of the words, for example, rubbish and stink, as applied to unwelcome presents a little sad. But if this initiates discussion about the necessity of having the right words for the wrong present, then it will be useful.
The illustrations of the range of animals give the reader the opportunity of looking at animals not often seen in children's books, and recognising that most come from South America.
Fran Knight

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CBCA Awards 2017 winners
2017 Inky Awards shortlist
Environment Award for Children's Literature 2017
Book Week 2017 ideas - Escape to Everywhere
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates