Friday, June 27, 2014

Picture Book Review: Boa's Bad Birthday by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Cover of Boa's Bad Birthday by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Emily turned four this week, so as you can imagine our week has been heavily focused on birthdays. After celebrating her birthday, we also spent the remainder of the week celebrating the birthdays of all her dolls and teddies too. There were lots of pretend parties with random items wrapped in paper for presents. She certainly knows how to draw out the celebrations. 

With birthdays on our mind, Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross' picture book Boa's Bad Birthday was certainly a perfect fit for us this week. Here is our review:

Boa is having the worst birthday ever! His friends really have not put much thought into the presents they give him. A piano he can't play because he has no fingers, sunglasses he can't wear because he has no ears and honestly, what is he going to do with a hair brush? Poor Boa tries to remain polite when receiving the gifts from his friend, even if they are completely inappropriate.  Just when you think it can't get any worse, Dung Beetle arrives!

We have all been on the receiving end of a poorly thought out present (and perhaps I may have been responsible for giving some too). This is a very funny story which also shares some important reminders, like remaining gracious, grateful and polite, even when receiving rubbish gifts. It also provides a valuable lesson that if a gift, at first, appears to stink, it may just surprise you and end up being the best present ever! 

I think the moral of this story is an important one for children to learn, however, I don't think it necessarily needed to be spelled out so obviously at the end. I personally think most kids could pick up on the lesson from the subtlety of the story without it being pointed out.

Tony Ross' iconic illustrations are funny and I just adore the facial expression on poor Boa. 

This is a lovely birthday story that both my children enjoyed and was fun to read aloud too.

Book Details:
Author: Jeanne Willis
Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Koala Books
Publication Date: June 2014
ISBN: 9781742760957
RRP: $14.99

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a gift that you originally thought was rubbish?

Disclosure: I was given a review copy of this book by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.


  1. Hi I am Kokila from

    I am a book blogger and adores children's book specially the picture books.Though I can not boast of a remarkable collection but I love to see others having and reviewing about them!
    Its a nice review! Yes subtlety is the key for young and adults alike...
    You have a sweet,cutie pie of a blog !

    I will like to share or link some of your posts in future ; if its okay with you....