“Clever humor and illustrations bursting with energetic fun combine for a birthday present story that makes the perfect birthday present.”
Speaking in second person and addressing the reader, the narrating duck explains that it’s the reader’s birthday, and Duck has been busy searching for the perfect birthday gift. “Something amazing. Something unexpected. Something that you would really love.” But when hand knit socks end in a tangled mess, the magic kit magically disappears, and stranded martians need the rocketship, Duck’s head hangs low in defeat, until surprising readers with this very book, containing all of their favorite things: “birthday socks,” “dinosaurs,” and “friendly martians.” Best of all, the gift can be enjoyed again and again. Erskine-Kellie and McLennan’s clever text cues each upcoming gift idea—“I got you something totally chill” precedes ice cream, while “an idea that would really blow you away” foreshadows an “apple-juice fueled jet pack”—and includes witty laughs, like when Duck explains why a dinosaur for a present didn’t pan out: “Have you ever looked for a dinosaur?” I couldn’t find one anywhere.” Atkinson’s skillful artwork, which was rendered in “cake icing, gorilla vanilla ice cream and Photoshop,” make everything delightfully silly. Duck’s facial expressions are varied and expressive, and the details throughout show Atkinson had a good time with this one: “Some Assembly Required,” informs a note on the rocket ship box, which was on sale for “10% off.”
A quest for the perfect birthday present leads to ever grander (and ever more imperfect) gift ideas in this clever metafiction story that’s hilarious any day of the year.
?I wanted to get you the greatest present ever,? our narrator tells us. But somehow, none of the best ideas seemed to pan out. First, there was the pair of hand-knitted birthday socks (have you ever tried knitting birthday socks?). Then, the ten-scoop ice cream cone (a disaster to carry), the magic kit (it disappeared, just like magic!), the apple juice-fueled jet pack (still a few kinks to work out) and the dinosaur (I couldn’t find one anywhere). And now, time has run out, and our narrator still has nothing to give. Or, maybe there is something after all. Something that contains all those awesome gifts in one. Something that can be enjoyed again and again, just by turning the pages …
In their debut picture book, Emmy Award-winning children’s television writers Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan have created a laugh-out-loud story filled with heart. The metafiction approach (speaking directly to ?you?) and fun story together with the antic exuberance of Cale Atkinson’s bold and colorful illustrations make this a lively read-aloud that will keep even the youngest children engaged. Though a book about finding the perfect birthday present is itself the perfect birthday present, it’s also simply a delightful read for any time of year. It also offers an excellent character education lesson on perseverance.
Very clever and fun development of the story with terrific illustrations by Atkinson.
Totally fun and a little silly!
Susan McLennan is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer for television. I Got You a Present!, which she wrote with her husband Mike Erskine-Kellie, is her first picture book. Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.Mike Erskine-Kellie is a writer and producer for television. I Got You a Present!, which he wrote with his wife, Susan McLennan, is his first picture book. Mike lives in Toronto, Ontario.Cale Atkinson is the illustrator of many highly acclaimed picture books, including If I Had a Gryphon and To the Sea, which he also wrote. He lives with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Cale Atkinson is an illustrator/writer/animator currently residing in Kelowna Canada. He claims to love tea more than sleep, which makes sense when you realize how many projects and clients he’s dealing with on a regular basis. With creative storytelling and engaging illustrations, Cale’s work has earned awards like Buzzfeed 17 Most Beautiful Books 2015, Ontario Library Association Best Bets Top 10 2015, and CBC Children’s Choice Award Finalist 2016. Cale recently spent a month in Portugal, and you can see his incredible Lisbon-inspired art on his Twitter account where he regularly updates his followers as to his coming adventures and works.
Dedicated to my mum and dad for building a house of books, to my brother John for sharing his terrific insights, to Katie Scott for being a totally awesome editor and to Susan for lighting my life with love
To my parents, Adrienne, Ian and Mr. A., for always being there; to Sheila Barry for being the guiding star that she was; to Sharon Barwick and Diana Birrell, who are two of the finest people I know; and to my beloved Mike, who has given me a world filled with more love than I ever thought possible
To my parents for always spoiling me with the perfect presents growing up