The Secret Birthday Message
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The Secret Birthday Message

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  56 reviews
‘On the night before Tim’s birthday, he finds a rebus note, a secret message directing him to his gift. Youngsters can read the note with him, then follow him up, down, and through the various-shaped, brightly colored [die-cut] pages to find the puppy at the end. . . . ‘A Very-First-Step-To-Learning Book’ dealing with directional concepts.’ —CE.
Hardcover
Published January 1st 1972 by HarperCollins
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Burton Wolfe
I love Eric Carle books. The illustrations are great. It is about a boy who finds a secret message under his pillow and it is coded with shapes. It is a typical Eric Carle book where the shapes are cut out of the pages giving glimpses of what is behind it. The boy ends up following the directions and finds a puppy for his birthday. Curriculum wise for use in a classroom it would be great for students to make their own secret messages and read them to each other and try to figure them out within...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 14, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: birthday gifts; to teach nature/shapes; kids who like puzzles, dogs, cut out book pages
Loved it! Great for young children for learning shapes and as they’re reading/listening to solve a puzzle to find a (very wonderful) birthday gift.

The illustrations are wonderful. Vibrant colors! Great cut outs on the pages. The shapes are unusual for a shapes book and they’re interesting and pertinent to the story/puzzle. This book is a lot of fun. Some young kids will spend a good deal of time with this one.
Crystal Marcos
Jun 07, 2011 Crystal Marcos rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: birthday reads, learning shapes
My husband and I read this to our daughter for her birthday and we enjoyed ourselves. She wanted to read it again, but it was past her bedtime. She was disappointed at first, but quickly moved to excited once she heard we would read it again tomorrow. This is a neat way to teach shapes and following directions. The colors were bright and the cutouts are very fun. It is a unique Eric Carle book. I hadn't heard of this one until it was recommended to me by a friend. Sure glad they shared it with m...more
Amy Musser
On the night before Tim’s birthday he finds a strange and secret message full of cryptic shapes. The message tells him to follow the directions in the letter to find his birthday present. Each of the successive pages features a line of the message that takes Tim closer to his present. Carle uses his signature illustration style along with layered pages to create an intriguing mystery. The final page shows a map of the route Tim takes. I like to read this book forward and then have the kids help...more
Ellie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mia
This book is about a boy who receives a secret birthday message the night before his birthday. He has to decode the secret message to lead him to his birthday gift. The illustration are bright and fun and the book is designed to be interactive with the secret birthday message.

I gave this book 5 stars because it was really fun to read. I was trying to guess what all the symbols stood for in the secret message. The author guides you through the message with pictures and other features until the en...more
Kayla Gephart
This book was really good because it has a theme, of adventure and it's a fun read. The book has sentences with key words that are pictures rather than the actual word. This makes the book more fun for students because they try to figure it out. The pages are also different sizes and cuts. They are not your traditional rectangular page. They are different in terms of the word.
In the book, it is Tim's birthday. He gets the coded message telling him to go to certain places so that he can find his...more
Kristen Lindsay
I loved this book and the how teachers can use this book in different content area. The book effectively teaches geometry (i.e. shapes, spatial sense)
* Students can create their treasure maps to correspond with the one in the story and set up an obstacle course or treasure hunt in the classroom.
* Can be used to teach direction in both mathematics and social studies
* May be one of several good books to read when a student is celebrating a birthday in the classroom
Magpie67
A message to read and then follow with unique pages for the reader to enjoy. Each page goes with the message that is in a bit of code and it would be fun to read this title to a younger person to see if they could figure out the message before the story starts.
Christian Houseworth
I love Eric Carle's books! This book is a cute and fun book that allows children to use a combination of words and pictures to get the reader involved in a treasure hunt to see what the surprise at the end of the book is. This book is helpful to teach students about looking for context clues to predict the ending of a story. This book is also helpful with teaching students patterns an sequencing. The illustrations in this book are great and this would be a great book to use for picture walks bec...more
Charlie
This book is cool because are cut out. They are not exactly drawn. I also like Tim's birthday present. A puppy? I love puppies! Anyways, this is a good book that I enjoyed reading. PRETTY good book.
Laura Mincey
This Eric Carle story is different than most of his others in the fact that it has no animals and there isn't really a "mission" in the story. This book would be appropriate to have in your classroom to share with students as they have their birthday. The book takes the child through a type of "maze" throughout the book with cut out shapes in the pages. My favorite part of this book were the illustrations and the word usage that really fires up kids for their special birthday. This wouldn't be a...more
Mckenzie Quade
This was a very cute book. It is interactive for children so they can really use their imaginations to get through this book. It tells the story of a little boy who wakes up and has to do a scavenger hunt to find his birthday present. If students are in need of a break or need to get some energy out, a teacher could also read this book and have students do actions for the words. Maybe as a follow-up activity, a teacher could make their own scavenger hunt around their room for their students to f...more
Monica Johnson
This story is aimed at (N) nursery aged children. It's about a boy who is on a birthday journey to find his birthday gifts. I gave this book three stars because it wasn't anything too exciting. Very colorful illustration, texture added for an interesting feature for little ones. Different shaped pages gave this book a different flare. My daughter thought it was cute. I thought it was ok. I think this wouldbea cute book for a child to read if they are going to receive a puppy as a gift, just as t...more
Alicia
Great book for squirmy kids, young toddlers. It's a board book, so they will have an easy time turning the pages and because they are die-cut into different shapes, they are more interesting than "regular" book pages. When my son was too antsy to sit through longer books, he liked us to read this faster and faster as we went along, me trying to keep up reading as fast as he could turn the pages.
Kamaie Clark
This book so unique with eh art work and the way the book is cut and carved though out the story to a surprise ending that just puts a smile on your face. Readers old and young will be more intrigued with each page bringing an exciting aspect to the entire story. A way this book can be used in the classroom is to have student create their own secret message to a friend using codes and clues.
Brianna
Grade Level(s): K-2
* Teaches geometry (i.e. shapes, spatial sense)
* Students can create their treasure maps to correspond with the one in the story and set up an obstacle course or treasure hunt in the classroom.
* Can be used to teach direction in both mathematics and social studies
* May be one of several good books to read when a student is celebrating a birthday in the classroom
Katelyn Warner
* Could be used in an Eric Carle unit
-Great illustrations
* Uses math shapes
-Kids can make predictions about what objects the shapes will represent
* Students enjoy the simplicity of the suspense that the book offers
* Has a "map" in the back of the book of what happened throughout the story so that the kids can see the overall picture of what they read.
Ileana Lindner
PERFECT book for teaching students positional/directional words. This book was exciting to read to my students because it was like an adventure. I taught my students the importance to positional/directional words with this book, because at the end of the adventure, you would need these important words to find your way back home! Beautiful job, again, Mr. Eric Carle!
Kelley
I had never read this Eric Carle book but I was not surprised at how creative it was! I really like this for teaching shapes or following directions. This book is like a list of directions to reach a final destination, with the ultimate present- A PUPPY! This is cute for any student that likes a little adventure in their reading.
Laurie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vivian
A boy receives a cryptic note which, if he follows the clues, will lead him to his birthday gift.

As story teller, I pointed to all the shapes in the note and asked the children to name them. Then we proceeded through the book identifying the shapes. It was a lot of fun.

The gift? A puppy!
Elizabeth
Eric Carle has done it again. This is a perfect book to engage little ones in learning shapes, patterns, and following directions. The illustrations are colorful and joyful. The reader wants to find out what the present will be just as much as the character in the story.
Sarah


A boy gets a secret message telling him to follow certain shapes to find his birthday present. The half semi-circle is the moon rising, and so forth. We follow him on the hunt, turning pages cut in the shapes, each page-turn revealing the next clue. Fun for read-aloud.
Michelle
May 20, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: children
Shelves: picture-book
I have no objectivity when it comes to Eric Carle books. I love them! This one features not only great illustrations but die cuts to cleverly tell the story of a boy decoding a message to get to his birthday surprise. It was pretty great!
Roshunda Harris
This book is a fun book that allows children to use a combination of words and pictures to get the reader involved in a treasure hunt to see what the surprise at the end of the book is. This book is great for math when teaching about pattern.
Kelli Dana
This is a great book for an introduction to directional reading. This book takes the reader along a journey to find the main characters birthday gift. The book is excellent for beginning readers and it also introduced directional words.
Oana Cerchezan
This book would be an awesome way to introduce how students can create their own foldable books! They can write a story and use mostly their illustrations to tell the story. This encourages them to use their imaginations!
Laura
My very favorite Eric Carle book, and it's autographed from my trip to meet the author at Pooh Corner books on State St. when I was little. I loved spending hours looking at the map and tracing my fingers along its path.
Sung Baick
This is one of Eric Carle's non-animal books. The fun cut out pages make the story so much more appealing and fun to read. I would use this book for teaching spatial directions as well. Also good for sequencing!
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Eric Carle (born June 25, 1929) is a children's book author and illustrator, most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 71 million copies of his books have sold around...more
More about Eric Carle...
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