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Oscar's Half Birthday
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Oscar's Half Birthday

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Baby Oscar's half birthday is full cause for celebration in this amusing tale of an urban family outing, affectionately told by the inimitable Bob Graham.

"Perfect day for a half birthday,"
says Oscar's dad.
The birthday boy waves his wet fists.
"And a picnic," says Oscar's mom.

Oscar is six months old today, but the truth is that no one can wait for his whole birthday. So ther
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Feb 16, 2012 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Oscar is turning 6 months, so his family leaves the compact city and travels to a park for a celebratory picnic. At the park, there is a strong sense of community as everyone comments on how cute Oscar is and joins the family in singing the birthday song.

Bob Graham's watercolor illustrations are detailed, realistic, and easy to relate to. For example, when the mom is barefoot, you can see the bottom of foot is a lighter color than the rest of her skin...this is the kind of detail that helps rea
Lisa Vegan
Apr 29, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Bob Graham fans; half birthday celebration fans; anyone looking for family stories
I am basically in love with Bob Graham books. This is another stellar book.

I could literally spend all day viewing the illustrations, and then doing that over and over. He gets every little detail right; it’s actually amazing. I particularly like Boris the dog’s expressiveness. I find all the pictures incredibly aesthetically pleasing.

The story is wonderful because this family is wonderful. Mother and father are both fabulous parents, and big sister Millie and little brother Oscar are adorable,
May 01, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book from Bob Graham. I love his work! This isn't my very favorite of his, but it's still great and absolutely adorable.

How sweet is this beginning:
"Today is Oscar's birthday.
Well, not really his birthday--
he's only six months old.
The truth is, no one can
wait for his whole birthday..."

Oscar's mom, dad and sister make a picnic lunch and take half way to the country (for the half-birthday), to Bellevue Hill, to celebrate. Sister Millie, dressed in homemade fairy wings with
Apr 04, 2012 Meg rated it it was amazing
Ellen chose this at the library the other day and I don't even bother to peek at her books before we check them out because I know by now that once she decides on a book it is coming home with us, even if it has 8000 words per page or the coherence of a prison tattoo. There is no talking her out of it.

I started reading this book to Harry at first. The kids were a little wild and I was trying to relax the mood a little before we went up to make dinner. It didn't take long before Ellen was sittin
Jun 02, 2011 Jessie rated it it was amazing

You see, no one can wait a full year to throw Oscar a party. It's adorable and sweet and kind of makes me teary eyed. I'm totally throwing my child a half-birthday picnic inspired by this book.

The thing I love about Bob Graham is that his families are shown in urban settings, doing things people in cities do (walking past graffiti covered bridges, looking at traffic and factories). And the parents in this one are biracial but no one makes a big deal out of it,
Melissa Carroll
This book is so pure <3
Lovely neutral depiction of a mixed-race family.
Bonnie Ferrante
Jun 27, 2014 Bonnie Ferrante rated it it was amazing
This is a gentle, warm book about a family of four celebrating a little boy’s sixth month birthday. We are never told why this is so important, why the family can’t wait until he is one year old. That, in itself, could generate some interesting discussion.

The mother, father, sister Millie, and baby Oscar go on a picnic. When the parents light a candle on Oscar’s cake, all the people in the park who have been admiring the baby, join in singing “happy birthday.” Millie wears fairy wings throughout
Hae Sun
Oct 22, 2013 Hae Sun rated it really liked it
This was a book that showed multiculture through its illustrations more than the storyline. Oscar's family is biracial, urban and lower economic class (from the pictures). His parents seem to be young and carefree, kind of hippie. The family walks to the park to celebrate Oscar's half birtday. The illustrations show graffiti on the walls in their apartment and on the walls of the community they live in. They come to the park and celebrate and when they sing "Happy Birthday" all kinds of people a ...more
Courtney Hendrix
Jan 30, 2017 Courtney Hendrix rated it really liked it
This picture book explores a smart idea of celebrating little Oscars half birthday, he is 6 months today and the family is going for a picnic. Oscar, his mom and dad, and Millie, his little sister, and their dog are all going to celebrate the special day. After multiple stops the finally get to the big hill where they are going to have the picnic. Mom is so excited that she made a cake and as they start singing to Oscar, all the people around them start singing too. It ends up being a great time ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Ellie rated it really liked it
Shelves: community
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2016 Morgan added it
Shelves: rdng-350
This book, although you'd think is about Oscar, is mainly about his big sister, Millie. Millie is an eccentric little girl with a dinosaur hand and coat hanger, fairy wings. She's excited for her little brother's 6-month birthday. The book follows this family though the city, to the park, where they have a picnic for him. The whole park sings for Oscar's birthday. The day ends with tired babies.

This book was very neat in lots of ways. The family was more edgy than most families depicted in chil
Olivia Lavelle
Mar 06, 2012 Olivia Lavelle rated it it was ok
Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham was an interesting book to read. I didn't quite like this read. In my opinion it felt like the storyline was all over the place. This was a hard book to stay focused and follow along. The thing I found interesting about this book was that there was an interracial couple as the parents. I found that to be neat, because in most children's books it's a parent of the same race. When I opened up to the first page, I couldn't tell if their was a father, because the ...more
Aug 17, 2013 Jess rated it it was amazing
August 2013 - I've read this one a few times, but having a 6 month old baby I was struck by how perfect Graham's depiction of Oscar is - "six different expressions on his face in the time it takes a leaf to fall," the way he wobbles when he sits and then topples over, chewing on the dinosaur puppet, etc. I also love the idea of celebrating half birthdays with a picnic, a cake, and half a candle.

July 2016 - since Ben is really into birthdays, I got this one again in anticipation of his half birth
Apr 13, 2009 RachelAnne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
Oscar won't turn 1 for six months, but his exuberant big sister, Millie, and his hipster-punk parents can't wait that long to celebrate the little boy's presence in their family. So, the four head across San Francisco for a half-birthday picnic in the park. Graham's eye for small-child details is priceless; the apartment looks realistically cramped and messy, Millie pushes every button in the elevator and spends the entire day wearing her coat-hanger fairy wings and her dinosaur puppet. The sens ...more
Lindsey Bishop
I liked this book because it is about a young boy getting tons of attention. This spoke to me, because as a young girl I craved attention. I also loved celebrating my birthday. This book can relate to me, and I am sure many others too.
Beautiful. Lighthearted. Joyful. Both my students and I love the book -- especially because so many of my students make such a big deal about celebrating their half birthdays. Plus, the book offers the added bonus of featuring illustrations that vividly and beautifully present a middle/working class, biracial family living in the heart of an urban space. (I love the details -- the graffiti in the elevator, how you can find the Mom's sandals tossed aside in each indoor image, the toys strewn abou ...more
Ariel Cummins
Mar 17, 2013 Ariel Cummins rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Ostensibly about Oscar the baby's half birthday, this book is really a love song to urban living, and the magic that the city holds. Oscar the baby is pretty much just busy bein' a baby (aka not really doing much of anything!), but his family is excited to make him a cake and take him on a picnic.

Bob Graham's characteristic illustrations are exploding with colorful characters and lively detail. Graffiti covered railroad bridges are treated with the same loving respect as the bustling city park.
Stef Rozitis
Jan 02, 2015 Stef Rozitis rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-childhood
Another beautiful life-affirming one from Graham. As usual half the beauty is in the pictures. Nothing much happens, it's just a family celebrating a half-birthday but it touches gently on love, siblings, gender, race, being neighbours and sharing and does it all so gently there is nothing remotely didactic. The urban landscapes are realistic and the invitation is to find beauty between and around and within factories and railway bridges and grafitti.

I do love almost four year old big sister din
Rachel C
Oct 07, 2013 Rachel C rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Millie and her parents go to the park to celebrate her little brother Oscar's half birthday because no one can wait for his full birthday. The setting takes place in a urban setting and the parents are a young biracial couple that love life, making the story relevant to many readers. I appreciated that the author, Bob Graham, has created such an original book that indirectly tells a story of a loving family through his wonderful illustrations. I think this book will be wonderful to have in the c ...more
Oscar is 6 months old, and his parents can’t wait for the whole year, so they’ve decided to celebrate his half-birthday. His parents pack Oscar up and his big sister and they head to the park for a picnic and cake. Eventually the other park goers join in with Oscar’s family to sing “Happy Birthday”. Oscar is biracial, and you see Oscar’s mother in dreadlocks. Very nice story recommended for any mixed family looking for picture books for kids who look like them. But even if you are not, th
Sarah Herrington
Jul 06, 2014 Sarah Herrington rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I loved this book. The writing was beautiful and the illustrations did it justice. It's a simple story about a family celebrating their baby's half birthday- not much plot but that leaves room for lots of descriptive elements. I also love that it features a multi-racial family, but that it isn't a book about that (those are GREAT, it's just nice to see a book that assumes it's a normal thing). I love that the dad has a ponytail and the whole vibe feels down to Earth and real. It was truly a deli ...more
Apr 28, 2011 Becca rated it really liked it
Oscar's half birthday calls for a celebration in the park. The family is altogether and finds a nice picnic area with lots of other families from around town. They all enjoy cake and sing to Oscar, and have a wonderful day together. The books displays great family time and is very up-to-date with an interracial couple and mixed children. It is great to read to children who may be lacking diverse knowledge, as well as those who see it all the time. It will make them feel comfortable and be able t ...more
Mary Parker
Although a book with a relatively good message, personally I was not fond of the illustrations. For example, the family was traveling to a park where they could celebrate Oscar's Half Birthday, and on the way they stopped under a monorail track. The illustration depicted an area where there was graffiti all over the bridge, a chain link fence in the back ground, and trash scattered across the ground. This would definitely not be a book I would read to any child.
Amanda Wilson
i found this story very long and dry, but i really like the underlying ideas behind it like you make your own happiness and you dont have to have money to do it. even going to the park and having coat hanger fairy wings can make you happy. The most significant think about this book, came after reading it a second time was actually in the illustrations. this book is a good example of diversity as the mother and father are different races.
This book was terrible. There is a biracial couple in the book, not disagreeing with that, but it was so stereotypical. The mother was bathing the kids, pushing the stroller, and the dad was playing with the dog, etc. I literally stopped reading the book half way through. I will not read this to my students.
Oct 19, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
A very modern family with multicultural parents in nontraditional dress- the setting as well depicts a modern urban world with barbed wire, graffiti, and factories- but despite the unique characters and setting, the story is a sweet one. Good to show nontraditional characters and setting without those ideas being the focus of the book
Aug 17, 2007 Flora rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Big siblings
Oscar is turning 6 months old, so his family (including big sis, Millie) decides to celebrate his half-birthday in the half-country (the city park). Along the way to the perfect picnic spot is a lot of imaginative conversation, humor and adventure. Soon, the whole community is celebrating with Oscar and his family.
Kristin Lee
This is a cute book that represents the love and affection in a family. This family doesn't just celebrate year birthdays, but half birthdays as well with birthday cakes with half candles on them. The illustrations are good.
Courtney Sharpton
This is a great book to use when discussing imagery in writing. Graham does a wonderful job of matching the words to the illustrations. I also like how the family in this book is biracial. It demonstrates no matter what your family looks like they are all the same.
Gentle and affectionate story of a mother, father, and sister taking 6 month old Oscar out to the park for a half birthday. The illustrations are lovely, although there is quite a lot of text per page for a book that is clearly aimed at a younger audience.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

An Australian children's author and illustrator. His books include Max, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal, and "Let's Get A Pup!" Said Kate which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
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