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[The authors] found that 60 percent of the kindergartners in neighborhoods where children did poorly in school did not... More
Summary: Caitlin is very excited about sharing her birthday with friends at school. She selects a dozen cupcakes at the bakery to take to school to celebrate. When her teacher de-ices the cupcakes to make them all the same, Caitlin is confused. Later, her dad tries to help her understand by talking about the differences in the world, large and small. This is a story that offers a lesson about love and understanding.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Age of Child: Read with 4½-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: Our preschooler easily empathized with Caitlin. When we were done reading, she wanted to role play, acting as a friend and comforting "Caitlin."
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is nicely done, though it is shocking to see that it's based on an actual event. Despite the dad's explanations to Caitlin (and they are good), I can't imagine a more thoughtless teacher.
Pros: The story builds a life lesson around something every child shares: giddiness over their birthday. The author's presentation of same and different is excellent and focus on things kids can relate to.
Cons: If the goal of the story is diversity and tolerance, then the cupcake allegory is too simplistic as a bridge to the message.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Despite having a positive message, the story puts a heavy (negative) weight on birthdays ... and asks 5-year-olds to grasp some pretty hefty concepts.
Educational Themes: The theme is fairly self evident: not everything is the same in this world, and not everyone thinks like you do, and it's important to accept that ... even when it's disappointing to you. With older readers/listeners, you may be able to draw out similar stories of disappointment, tolerance, and understanding differences.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family