Stella Blackstone is one of my favorite children’s authors. She writes simple and beautiful books. The illustration in her books are absolutely beautiful and bring the story to life. This book happens to be especially special because this past week was my daughter’s birthday. We read this book many times over and over again. The book is about Bear’s special birthday day. The book discusses how his friends come over, what they do at the party and how they celebrate. I love this book because it has a clear beginning and ending and adheres well to sequencing. Since it is a book most children can relate to, many children will be able to retell the story pretty easily. On one page, the author asks you to “find the birthday bear” within a busy scene. This can help your child’s visual tracking skills. You can ask your child “How is the birthday bear different than the other bears in the book?”. There is also a cat that tries to pop the balloon throughout the story which can elicit commenting and answering “wh” questions (e.g. “Why is the cat trying to pop the balloon?”, “What will happen when the cat pops the balloon?”, “What will it sound like when the balloon pops?). Answering these questions can elicit more language concepts such as describing, commenting and the list can go on forever! Engage your child in this book and ask them “What would you like to do on your birthday?” or “Tell me about your last birthday party”. If you child has trouble answering an open ended question, take out your last birthday album or show them pictures on your computer and talk about your party last year. Seeing the actual photographs from their party can help them answer questions and talk about their birthday. At dinner last night, we talked about what bear was eating with his friends and what my children ate at my daughter’s birthday party. It also has a nice counting activity at the end of the book.