When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano (review)
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16  •  The Bulletin and companion titles. Now Fishman tackles the topic with a free-wheeling litany of mind bogglers, from the titular 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, to Earth’s 7,500,000,000 human population, to its 10,000,000,000,000,000 ant population, to the 31,536,000 seconds it will take to turn a year older. The big numbers are expressed two ways wherever they appear—generally written in numerals in the main text and then set into a verbal expression near the bottom of the page. It’s a challenge to put comma-intensive numbers into words, and to assist in that endeavor , an author’s note breaks down that hundred billion trillion numeral into its component parts.The note also discusses the methods and challenges of estimation and the difficulty of counting populations precisely. Clearly this is a math teacher’s dream, and Greenberg’s imaginative cartoon spreads, in which characters bound tipsily through their milieux viewed from varying perspectives, will retain the interest of children about to exit primary school. It will also have appeal for dreamers who like to think big thoughts, and kids who enjoy mulling over Hosford’s Infinity and Me (BCCB 11/12) will have a ball. EB Florence, Debbi Michiko  Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen; illus. by Elizabet Vuković. Farrar, 2017 [128p] (Jasmine Toguchi) Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-374-30410-2  $15.99 Paper ed. ISBN 978-0-374-30834-6  $5.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-374-30412-6  $4.25 Reviewed from galleys R  Gr. 2-4 In the first book in a new series, it’s New Year’s, Jasmine Toguchi’s favorite holiday, and her grandmother comes to visit from Japan to help make mochi, so they can ring in the New Year with good luck by eating the sticky rice dessert at midnight. The family rules say that you have to be ten to help with mochi-tsuki, though, and Jasmine still has two years to go; however, Jasmine decides to ask her dad to let her join him and her uncles to help pound the mochi rice into sticky dough, giving her an unexpected new role. Jasmine’s love for her family and their traditions shines through in her narration even as she complains about her sister and questions the sexism of the gendered division of labor for mochi-tsuki. Vuković’s dynamic line and ink wash drawings break up the text and build on it with extra details, from a detailed sketch of Jasmine’s bedroom to spot illustrations showing Obaachan’s home in Hiroshima and her cousins’ in San Francisco. Back matter includes an author’s note about traditional and modern methods for making mochi and a simplified recipe to make it in the microwave. The Toguchi family’s warmth and affection for one another will leave readers eager to spend more time with them. SS Fogliano, Julie  When’s My Birthday?; illus. by Christian Robinson.  Porter/ Roaring Brook, 2017  [34p] ISBN 978-1-62672-293-4  $17.99 Reviewed from galleys R*  4-6 yrs Fogliano’s playful poetry here treats that most anticipated of events in the little kid calendar: his or her birthday. The text starts with familiar questioning (“When’s my birthday?/ Where’s my birthday?/ How many days until my birthday?”) and moves through some wishing and planning (“I’d like some wishes on my birthday./ I’d like some kisses on my birthday./ I’d like some berries on my birthday/ and tiny sandwiches with soup”). Then there’s the night-before tenterhooks (“In the September 2017  •  17 morning it’s my birthday!/ I’m not sleeping till my birthday”) and the final arrival of the magic day itself (“Wakey wakey/ Cakey cakey”). Fogliano is the master of seemingly casual, unstructured poetry that reveals on closer examination a clever, frisky sensibility, and there’s a blend of peppy rhythm and amusing specifics that will make for engaging reading aloud.The tall, narrow trim size gives a greeting-card feel to the title, while Robinson’s acrylic and collage art provides blocky, childlike assemblages in surprisingly sedate earth tones...