Book Review: My Parents Cancelled my Birthday, by Jo Simmons

When a series of disasters puts Tom’s Lucky Birthday on hold, he takes matters into his own hands to organise his own birthday celebration.

By
A hilarious story for middle years’ children about a birthday, a pig and some chickens.
Overall
4

Jo Simmons is an English journalist turned author. She has written many successful books for middle years’ children, including I Swapped my Brother on the Internet and the Pip Street series. Simmons knows what appeals to the younger reader and what they find funny, and My Parents Cancelled my Birthday is another winner.

It is the story of Tom. He is almost beside himself with anticipation as he prepares to celebrate his Lucky Birthday. This only occurs once in a lifetime, when your birthdate and age coincide. This year, Tom is 13 on the 13th August. He would like a birthday party to remember, and can’t wait to find out what his parents have in store for him.

But a series of family disasters seem set to derail all his preparations. The family pig falls off the roof, his grandmothers’ beloved Chihuahua is flattened, his sister is cursed and his parents are no help at all, so Tom takes matters into his own hands (with a little help from his friends) and sets out to organise the party he has always dreamed of. What could possibly go wrong?

There are many novels being written at the moment which are targeted towards readers of this age group, David Walliams and Peter Hellier being two such authors. This books sits firmly amongst these. Simmons has the ability to write stories which are totally relatable to middle years’ children with just enough familiarity sitting amongst the silliness. Parents will also enjoy the subtle jokes and I for one, had several laugh out loud moments. This is a great book to share with your child.

The illustrations by Nathan Reed add to the text. They help convey the story and are a great adjunct to the comedy of the situations. He has perfectly added to the absurdity of the story. I particularly love the hairstyles and the chickens!

The ending has some lovely reminders about the important things in life, like taking notice of the good things around us for which we can be thankful.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Australia
Released: September 2019
RRP: $12.99

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