Yesterday (May 13) was Milly's 4th birthday. Even the sun came out in her honor, after days (and days) of rain. If you knew her this would come as no surprise. Anyway, it was a day in which all of the ordinary things we did (make breakfast, go to school, play outside, read books together) were somehow extra-special. And there were presents, too.
Milly loves Angelina Ballerina, so for her birthday this year I gave her a copy of Angelina's Birthday by Katherine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig (Viking, 2006; originally published as Angelina's Birthday Surprise, 1989). It's nice to share a birthday with a friend from a book. Sort of like reading a book about London while in London (unless, of course, you already live in London). Angelina's birthday is a particularly nice one, too (book and birthday, actually); after Angelina crashes her bicycle, she helps earn money to buy a new one by doing odd jobs for neighbors like Mrs. Hodepodge, but she doesn't make quite enough for a new bike in time for her birthday picnic. I like the way that Holabird emphasizes Angelina's growing sense of independence (she is allowed to ride her bike to the village on important errands) and responsibility in her birthday story. And Craig's delicate, detailed illustrations of the village and the countryside in spring make me want to ride my bike to Chipping Cheddar, too. Happy birthday, Angelina!
And happy birthday, Milly! I'm sorry I couldn't get you the Polly doll you wanted (I blame the eBay snipers); but you should note that Angelina's baby sister (book and baby, actually!) doesn't arrive until 1991. You seem happy with your consolation Henry, though.
[N.b., last year I gave Milly Happy Birthday to You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark (Andersen, 2006), in which blue kangaroo feels left out of Lily's "I want everything to be pink!" birthday party. Both are highly recommended for preschool birthday girls who love pink, ballet, and birthdays. Maybe you know of one?]