Age Range: 1 to 5
With a birthday coming up in our house there is a lot of talk about invitations and cakes so we have been reading a birthday story from one of our favourite characters. Kipper and his friends have been with us since I started reading to my daughter and I’m sure he’ll be around for at least another year as his stories are great for introducing children to familiar concepts.
The Story: Kipper is preparing for his birthday party. On the day before his birthday he writes invitations that ask the guests to come to his party at midday tomorrow and he makes a birthday cake. He is so tired that he delivers the invitations the next morning but at midday his friends don’t arrive. By the end of the day he has eaten the cake and fallen asleep. On the following day when his friends knock on the door it causes much confusion as Kipper tries to work out when his birthday is. They celebrate anyway and luckily one of the presents includes a birthday cake to replace the one that Kipper has already eaten.
Kipper’s birthday includes the familiar elements of a birthday celebration – invitations, balloons, cake and presents but the story is given an interesting twist with the wording of the invitations. Kipper’s friends, Tiger, Holly and Jake, join him for his birthday (they are all different breeds of dog) and they support him through his confusion. For me part of Kipper’s appeal is his naivety when trying to solve familiar problems, the reader is really involved in his thought process and supporting characters help him to come to a suitable conclusion. The story text is simple and the watercolour pictures are painted mainly on a white background. There is also a German translation of Kipper’s Birthday – BuBus Geburtstag.
I have used Kipper’s Birthday in an Early Years’ classroom as part of a topic about celebrations. We have talked about birthday parties, made party invitations (including talking about how important it is to write the date!), written menus for birthday parties and with older children I have talked about the concept of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Kipper is such a loveable dog and the settings and situations of his adventures are familiar which makes the Kipper stories great to use in an Early Years’ classroom. His books can be used for a wide range of topics, Kipper has helped me teach weather, colours and counting to name but a few. I would really love some comments from teachers who have used Kipper books in the classroom. Which book did you use and what activities did the children do after reading the story?
Kipper even has his own website where you can join him and his friends for fun and games.
Author / Illustrator: Mick Inkpen
We have the Kipper story collection. As well as Kipper’s Birthday it also includes Kipper’s Toybox, another favourite of ours.
Mick Inkpen illustrated Jasper’s Beanstalk which we have also recommended on Story Snug.