Earth Day Birthday by Pattie Schnetzler

Earth Day Birthday is a book the kids might like more than you do. The main theme is a poem set to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Didn’t we get enough of that one in December? Anyway, each of the twelve days features a different animal from North America. Most will be familiar to most children, but I would be surprised if you get all the way through without at least one “What’s that?” question.

The biggest strength of Earth Day Birthday is the gorgeous illustrations by Chad Wallace. Truly art-quality work, and the animals are only slightly idealized. Wallace’s bio notes at the end indicates that Earth Day Birthday is the fourth children’s book he’s done; I’ll be looking for the rest.

As for the text, it’s a fair match to the song, but not overly inspired. I found myself faltering occasionally – just how does the “four calling birds” verse go? – but in case you get totally lost the music is provided in the back.

The message of Earth Day Birthday seems a bit unpolished. It’s as if the author got through all twelve verses and then suddenly realized she didn’t actually *say* anything. The summary page tells children,

On the day known as Earth Day, as every day should be, we care for creatures as our family.

Take from that what you will.

The final page is a short informative article about the origin of Earth Day (and it mentions “giving thanks” for the Earth, which is nice but shallow), followed by a few simple ideas for things a child can do to celebrate Earth Day.

Available on Amazon

Earth Day Birthday by Pattie Schnetzler, illustrated by Chad Wallace. Dawn Publications, 2003.

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