Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Happy Birthday, Mallory!

Happy Birthday, Mallory!

Laurie Friedman
Illustrator:  Tamara Schmitz 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Lerner Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0822565024

Mallory’s eighth year was a very hard year to get through. She and her family moved to a new house, which meant that Mallory moved away from her best friend and from the school where she had been happy. Adjusting to a new life in a new town was not easy. Since her eighth year was such a challenge, Mallory is determined that her ninth year will be a lot better, and she decides that the best way to ensure that this happens is to celebrate her birthday month and not just her birthday day.

   Mallory puts together a list of ten things that she would like to do during her ninth birthday month. Her parents shoot down eight of the things, which leaves Mallory feeling rather depressed. She is especially upset that they refuse, yet again, to allow her to pierce her ears. They do however agree that Mallory can invite her friend Mary Ann to come and stay over for Mallory’s birthday weekend, and her mother also agrees that Mallory can have a cake-of-the-week each Saturday.

   Mallory sets about making her first Saturday cake-of-the-week celebration special. She invites her friends to come over, and even though they all say that they have plans, Mallory convinces herself that they will be able to come anyway. On Saturday a very unfortunate thing happens. Mallory’s mother gets the flu and there is no cake.

   Next weekend will surely be better. Right? Wrong. On the following Saturday Mallory goes into the kitchen and her mother is making a cake! Perfect. Except the cake is not for Mallory. It is a coconut cake for Winnie, who lives next door. They are celebrating her birthday and Mallory’s cake-of-the-week doesn’t end up happening. All in all Mallory’s whole birthday month is turning out to be a bit of a washout.

   It is hard not to build up ones expectations when a special event in the offing, and it can be very disappointing when things do not work out as planned. Life has a habit of becoming complicated and it is not always easy to know how to deal with such disappointments.

   In this clever fourth Mallory title, Mallory has to figure out how she is going to cope when her plans do work out. Somehow she has to learn how to accept the things that she cannot change, and make the best of things. With humor and an authentic voice, the author explores an issue that will resonate with all readers.