Thursday, September 20, 2018

Humphrey's big birthday bash by Betty G. Birney, illustrated by Priscilla Burris

Humphrey is back in a special birthday surprise. Along with his new friend, Og the Frog, Humphrey is excited about the upcoming birthday party for student Kirk. He's really excited when he gets to go along! As the kids discuss Kirk's birthday celebration in the classroom and his upcoming party at home on Saturday, some of them notice that some birthdays are missing - Humphrey's, Og's, and Mrs. Brisbane's. Humphrey thoroughly enjoys Kirk's backwards birthday bash and even puts on a show for the kids. When he gets back to class, he tells Og all about it (even though they can't understand each other) and the two of them cook up a surprise for Mrs. Brisbane. But who will get the surprise in the end?

This is the eighth book in the series "Humphrey's Tiny Tales" an easier version of the popular "The World According to Humphrey" series which is now being extended with a new chapter book series starring the Og the Frog. I have really, really tried with these books and I'm just going to say it - I find them unutterably boring. They're just so.... bland. There are no real conflicts, no real plot, and the students are all reduced to stereotypes like "Please-don't-complain-Mandy-Payne". The introduction of Og the Frog is just exasperating - if Humphrey and Og can both understand the students, why on earth can't they understand each other?

Verdict: The line drawings are cute and these do have a steady, if not wildly enthusiastic audience, but they're definitely filler books.

ISBN: 9781524737207; Published September 2018 by Putnam; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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