CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 7. . . .October 19, 2012
Baxter and Bloom's Birthday: A Surprising Tale of Friendship.
Gwen Smales. Illustrated by Connie Fisher.
Huntsville, ON: Artsy Pear, 2012.
32 pp., pbk., $14.00.
Kindergarten-grade 1 / Ages 5-6.
Review by Inderjit Deogun.
Baxter and Bloom are brother and sister, best friends and twins. It's easy to tell them apart because Baxter always wears the colour blue and Bloom wears a yellow blossom. Baxter and Bloom should be happy because today is their birthday, but they're not.
I wonder why?
The problem is none of their friends are around to help them celebrate this special day.
So Baxter and Bloom decide to go to the beach! They always have a good time there.
After playing in the water and the sand Baxter and Bloom take a nap under their umbrella.
Hey, who is sneaking around back there?
Today is Baxter and Bloom's birthday. However, with no friends to share in the festivities, it's not turning out to be much of a celebration. But wait! Baxter and Bloom may just have a party on their hands after all.
Baxter and Bloom's Birthday: A Surprising Tale of Friendship, written by Gwen Smales and illustrated by Connie Fisher, is a story that fails to establish a consistent flow. The first few pages, which start off fairly smoothly, are followed by an abrupt shift in focus from Baxter and Bloom to their friends. Each friend is given the spotlight as he or she is introduced; however, these introductions end up feeling like disconnected vignettes. The friends are paired with unlikely activities, each of which culminates in a gift for Baxter and Bloom, but this well-planned nuance is not obvious on the first read. Though the illustrator is skilled at her craft, the images often lack a focal point, simply overwhelmed by too many colours. Baxter and Bloom's Birthday works hard to demonstrate diversity and friendship but is unable to bring all the components together seamlessly.
Recommended with reservations.
Inderjit Deogun is a poet in Mississauga, ON.
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