With a birthday coming up in our house there is a lot of talk about invitations and cakes so we have been reading Kipper’s Birthday. Kipper is one of my daughter’s favourite characters and he and his friends have been with us since I started reading to her. 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 another birthday cake!
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.
I have used Kipper’s Birthday in an Early Years’ classroom as part of a topic about celebrations. We’ve talked about birthday parties, made party invitations (including talking about how important it is to write the date!), written birthday party menus 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 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.
Kipper even has his own website where you can join him and his friends for fun and games.
Age Range: 1 +
Author / Illustrator: Mick Inkpen