Happy Birthday, Alice Babette

Happy Birthday, Alice Babette

Written by: Kulling, Monica
Illustrated by: Leng, Qin
ages 4 to 8 / grades K to 3

It’s Alice’s birthday! A beautiful spring afternoon in Paris — what could be better? Little does she know that her friend has arranged some surprises!

It’s Alice’s birthday! But her friend Gertrude seems to have forgotten. No matter, Alice goes out and enjoys her day just the same. A beautiful spring afternoon in Paris — what could be better? Little does she know that her dear friend has a few surprises up her sleeve.

While Alice spends the day walking around Paris — riding a carousel in the park and watching a puppet show — Gertrude turns her attention to the kitchen. She is determined to make a lavish dinner with all of Alice’s favorite things and write a poem to match the occasion.

But the lure of the perfect poetic line proves to be too distracting, and just as Alice’s day takes an exciting and unexpected turn, Gertrude’s big dinner falls all to pieces. The poem turns out beautifully, of course, but the house is a bit of a mess. It’s a good thing Alice doesn’t mind cleaning up. And that she has such a good brownie recipe for their guests.

Inspired by the lives of artist Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Monica Kulling’s warm and whimsical narration is perfectly balanced by Qin Leng’s bright and energetic illustrations. This is a sweetly joyful story of love, friendship and creative inspiration.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.3
Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

It’s Alice’s birthday! A beautiful spring afternoon in Paris — what could be better? Little does she know that her friend has arranged some surprises!

It’s Alice’s birthday! But her friend Gertrude seems to have forgotten. No matter, Alice goes out and enjoys her day just the same. A beautiful spring afternoon in Paris — what could be better? Little does she know that her dear friend has a few surprises up her sleeve.

While Alice spends the day walking around Paris — riding a carousel in the park and watching a puppet show — Gertrude turns her attention to the kitchen. She is determined to make a lavish dinner with all of Alice’s favorite things and write a poem to match the occasion.

But the lure of the perfect poetic line proves to be too distracting, and just as Alice’s day takes an exciting and unexpected turn, Gertrude’s big dinner falls all to pieces. The poem turns out beautifully, of course, but the house is a bit of a mess. It’s a good thing Alice doesn’t mind cleaning up. And that she has such a good brownie recipe for their guests.

Inspired by the lives of artist Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Monica Kulling’s warm and whimsical narration is perfectly balanced by Qin Leng’s bright and energetic illustrations. This is a sweetly joyful story of love, friendship and creative inspiration.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.3
Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Apr 1, 2016
Specifications 32 pages | 8.5 in x 10 in
Written By

MONICA KULLING is the author of over fifty books for children, including Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children, illustrated by Julianna Swaney, and On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights, illustrated by Felicita Sala. She has also written the popular Great Idea series, and her work has been nominated for many awards, including numerous Silver Birch Express and Golden Oak awards. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto.

Illustrated by

QIN LENG lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Her picture books include Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki (APALA Award, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist); Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary (both USBBY Outstanding International Books); When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam (Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award finalist) and I Am Small, which Qin has written and illustrated.

Audience ages 4 to 8 / grades K to 3
Reading Levels Lexile AD620L
Reading Recovery 20
Guided Reading M
Key Text Features author's note
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.3

Commended, CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens, 2016

Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices List, 2017

“[A] birthday surprise upturned and righted is always cause for delight.” —School Library Journal

“Leng’s airy ink drawings bring just the right chic Parisian energy to this odd-couple story.” —Publishers Weekly

“A rose is a rose, and loving friendship is loving friendship, as this sweet celebration makes clear.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[G]ive[s] kids a sense of what respect looks and feels like without ever resorting to the word itself.” —Quill & Quire

“[P]rovides an enchanting glimpse into the Parisian life of the two women and their fondness for each other and life in general.” —CanLit for Little Canadians

“[T]he most palatable parts of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas’s lives provide rich inspiration for this charming story of friendship.” —Globe and Mail

“The cartoonish, fine-lined ink illustrations . . . capture the sunny energy of a Paris springtime.” —Booklist

“All . . . can enjoy Qin Leng's air ink and digital-color illustrations of April in Paris and the affectionately funny portrait of a legendary friendship.” —The Horn Book

Praise for author Monica Kulling and illustrator Qin Leng for Happy Birthday, Alice Babette:

"[A] birthday surprise upturned and righted is always cause for delight." — School Library Journal

"Leng’s airy ink drawings bring just the right chic Parisian energy to this odd-couple story." — Publishers Weekly

"A rose is a rose, and loving friendship is loving friendship, as this sweet celebration makes clear." — Kirkus Reviews

"[G]ive[s] kids a sense of what respect looks and feels like without ever resorting to the word itself." — Quill & Quire

"[P]rovides an enchanting glimpse into the Parisian life of the two women and their fondness for each other and life in general." — CanLit for Little Canadians

"The cartoonish, fine-lined ink illustrations . . . capture the sunny energy of a Paris springtime." — Booklist

"[T]he most palatable parts of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas’s lives provide rich inspiration for this charming story of friendship." — Globe and Mail

"All . . . can enjoy Qin Leng's air ink and digital-color illustrations of April in Paris and the affectionately funny portrait of a legendary friendship." — Horn Books

"[A] sweetly joyful story of love, friendship and creative inspiration." — Canadian Children's Book Centre

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