Children’s Reviews: Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday and First Day of Unicorn School

Hello, everyone! It’s back to reviews with two delightful children’s books here! Up first, thanks to the kind folks at Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada, I’ll be talking about the newest Megabat chapter book, Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday by Anna Humphrey, illustrated by Kass Reich. Second on the review docket, thanks to author Jess Hernandez and Capstone, is the picture book First Day of Unicorn School by Jess Hernandez, illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum. Happy reading!

The fourth book in the wonderfully charming, comical and sweet Megabat series by Anna Humphrey and Kass Reich, Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday might just be the strongest and funniest series entry yet! If you have been following along with the adventures of the tiny, adorable, watermelon-loving Megabat and his circle of friends from the beginning, you might be especially tickled by the escapades, mishaps, and shows of friendship and care in Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday. When the story begins, readers learn that Megabat’s beloved human friend Daniel now has to wear “face windows” (glasses!) due to an incident that recently occurred during a class field trip. Daniel is a bit grumpy with both the glasses and with Megabat because of what happened, but Daniel does have something exciting to look forward to: his upcoming birthday party! Megabat has never experienced a birthday or birthday party before, and while he’s happy for Daniel, he cannot help but maybe, possibly feel a little bit jealous. While preparing for Daniel’s party, Megabat- along with his pigeon love Birdgirl and a mischievous puffer rat (squirrel!)- make a huge mess while attempting to assemble a birthday piñata. Not only that, it seems like Daniel and his best friend Talia have some whispering secrets they’re trying to keep from Megabat! With some frustration gnawing and building, Megabat ends up making a bad mistake and mess at Daniel’s birthday party and decides that his only choice is to run away! With the hopes that he will “make an excellent explorationer”, Megabat decides that Daniel will surely not miss him, especially surrounded by presents, classmates, and other fun birthday things, and heads for Daniel’s backyard and the unknown. Lest you worry that Megabat might get into scary trouble, or feel sorry for himself too much, do not fear! Anna Humphrey takes readers on a terrifically zany and sweet ride of funny incidents and adventures, full of backyard animals, moustaches, and busy baby Kwirls (squirrels!), as well as a super satisfying return to home. While the Megabat series is always sweet and thoughtful and full of loopy charm, this fourth book is especially laugh out loud funny and really highlights just how much love the members of this close-knit circle of friends have for each other. Lovely and lively all-around, featuring Kass Reich’s completely winning illustrations of Megabat and friends, Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday is supremely fun chapter book reading.

Written by Jess Hernandez and illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum, First Day of Unicorn School brings readers the funny and kindhearted story of a donkey named Milly. When we first meet Milly, we learn that Milly has been accepted into Unicorn School, and she could not be more delighted…and petrified! Milly is a donkey…and sure, sometimes she is a donkey wearing a party hat and really looks like a unicorn…but Milly is not a unicorn. So, what is Milly to do? Dare she risk attending her dream school and constantly worry about being found out as a fake? After some consideration, lots of worries, and positive self-talk, Milly can be seen, backpack on, walking through the gates of the illustrious, highly desirable Unicorn School. As other students start prancing and parading through the gates, readers might immediately start giggling when they notice something slightly awry with the other seemingly “perfect” unicorns at the school…So as not to give the entirety of the story away here, I will say that Hernandez, in tandem with the adorably bright and appealing illustrations by Epelbaum, tells a perfectly sweet and giggly tale here. A story about fitting in (and worrying about fitting in!) is a subject matter that’s been told numerous times in picture books before. But when an author and illustrator can find that sweet spot of something fresh or goofy or just laugh out loud- how fantastic! First Day of Unicorn offers a streamlined story, uncluttered dialogue, and keeps at a quick pace to keep younger readers/listeners interested. Its healthy dose of humour and sweetness is sure to only add to its appeal as a toddler-and-up read aloud! For further unicorn-inspired reading adventures, you might try pairing First Day of Unicorn School with Amy Young’s adorable A Unicorn Named Sparkle picture book series or Bethanie Deeney Murguia’s fantastical Do You Believe in Unicorns?.

I received a copy of Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday courtesy of Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. I received a copy of First Day of Unicorn School courtesy of the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. Title have been published and are currently available.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Reference & Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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