Tania McCartney (text), and Jess Racklyeft(illustrator), Hip Hip Hooray, Windy Hollow Books, April 2019, 32 pp., RRP $25.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781922081766
‘On birthday eve, the house is hopping…’ Is there anything more exciting to a child than a birthday party? Those feelings that begin in the pit of your stomach, the night before, that everything you’ve thought about for weeks is happening the next day, decorations, presents, cake and friends – all for you.
McCartney and Racklyeft’s collaboration is a wonderful salute to birthday parties – the anticipation and preparation, the games and food and the celebration! McCartney shows a careful balance between restraint in her use of language to build suspense, and then delight in showering us with party-related verbs.
Racklyeft’s illustrations show different animals in different parts of the world, from chameleons constructing a layer cake to narwhals whacking a piñata. Particularly lovely are the endpapers, showing packages and invitations for all the animals all over the world.
Teachers and parents will easily see the possibilities with a book like Hip Hip Hooray! The use of language could be analysed, especially the many different verbs. The places the animals are from could be explored and investigated, not to mention the different kinds of animals themselves! And, of course, children could talk about and share their own experiences of birthdays.
Reviewed by Madeleine Crofts