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The Secret Birthday Message
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The Secret Birthday Message

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  803 ratings  ·  112 reviews
A message in code starts Tim off on an exciting treasure hunt through a dark cave, an underground tunnel, and other strange places until at the end he finds a happy surprise.
Hardcover, 26 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1972)
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Showing 1-30
3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  803 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Burton Wolfe
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg-291
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
One could reasonably say Eric Carle's work is the professional opera of the children's book world: stories that usually don't proceed in linear fashion, but with stunning visuals and lavish production values. The esteemed author-illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, and Hello, Red Fox has created another picture book of operatic proportions in The Secret Birthday Message, an innovative piece comparable to the offerings of Simms Taback and Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Pages o ...more
Crystal Marcos
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Maria Rowe
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really love Eric Carle but somehow never read this one! The art is beautiful, I like the story and the ending is cute. But I don’t love the die-cut pages that are awkward to turn. It’s just disruptive to the story and especially the “rock page” just flips open on its own. It’s a neat idea but I don’t like how it actually functions. I love the really bright colors on the front cover - especially the pink house against the blue sky.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: k-4, other, picture-books
This picture book is super fun for kids, they get to guess what the symbols and shapes mean and what the birthday surprise is! This story is great for early elementary and is a good way to have kids name shapes and symbols while also reading the story. The story is very cohesive and smooth, the pictures are so much fun and interactive as each page is a different shape or symbol relating to the story, so readers feel like they are following the directions in the birthday note.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Filled with die-cut illustrations, this interactive book was a huge hit. Young independent readers will love using their knowledge of shapes to unravel the secret message. It's one of those books that will get read many times.
Cindy Sarnowski
Eric Carle hits another homerun with this simple story that uses clues to solve a puzzle. Shapes are used cleverly to reveal where the birthday message has been hidden. Each page reveals the next part of the puzzle ending with a sweet puppy.
This one is fun for young elementary age kids to solve the puzzle alongside Tim as he decodes his birthday message. Typical amazing Carle illustrations with some die cut pages.
Elisa Hordon
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really great birthday story
Karla Winick-Ford
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
quick read with some math language
kids enjoyed it
Eric Carle has such a unique way of delivering a story. This book is no exception. It's not only about the story, but how to reach the end of the story.
Melissa Namba
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dnamba
A very fun book with a type of treasure hunt. Great use of shapes and creative page cut outs. Excellent for children of all ages.
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
薇 許
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That was a very extiting book. Ilove it .
This was cute. I liked the specially cut pages. I was surprised how well it had held up until I saw that it's only ever been checked out twice.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chintubooks
love the shapes on the book that make a teeny tiny treasure map for kids to follow with their fingers and find their birthday present
Elizabeth Larsen
A funny, artistic page-turner, good for all ages. Recommended by Kamyla, 2nd Grader
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Cute holes and shapes cut in the paper.
Joanne Zienty
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-fiction
Love the interactive quality of this book!
Weijia Ren
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I found this book from the library, the pink house in the middle of the front cover caught my eyes right away. A dark pink house standing in the dark night while there are so many starts in the background. I could see a boy is reading a letter with smile on his face. When I looked up to tittle, the font of the tittle is straight and black . A secret message, and the boy is smiling. This made me want to open the book and find out what is going on.
The book is about a boy who named Tim. Tim f
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
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: math
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kayla Gephart
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Caitlin Schoessler
The Secret Birthday Message is an excellent picture book. This book is about is about a boy named Tim who finds a secret message under his pillow on the night before his birthday. The letter is a scavenger hunt through his backyard to find his birthday present. At the end he finds his birthday present with a map on how find his way back. I absolutely loved the illustrations in this book! The illustrations were very similar to the Very Hungry Caterpillar because the pages were made using a method ...more
Mercedes Case
Brief review- This book is about a kid who gets a secret message on his birthday. Its a mystery think that this book would be hard for a read aloud because you have to understand exactly what the shapes mean. I think this would be a good partner read because they could help each other figure out the secret message. This book is also great to read this for a students birthday.

Content area- The content area this could be used in is math. The author uses a lot of shapes in the secret message so yo
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: birthday, kids-books
I loved Eric Carl books when I was growing up so whenever I find fun Eric Carl books at the library, I pick them up. In honor of my daugther's birthday this weekend, I grabbed this one!

It didn't have much of a plot. What I usually love about Eric Carl books is of course the illustrations. This still had the unique illustrations, but it lacked content. I love that most of his books educate you. One of my favorites is Mister Seahorse and the Very Quiet Cricket.

But I liked the shapes in this one. H
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A boy went on a "mysterious" journey; in the end, he was surprised by a birthday gift.

The book is engaging and playful, which creates 3D experiences for young readers. They can peek through many shapes as they read the book.

Those shapes mostly come from children's daily lives--sunrise (half circle), staircase (multiple rectangles and a trapezoid), stars, etc.; they are natural, irregular shapes, unlike the typical "perfect" triangles, squares, and circles found in classroom learning.

This book
Amy Forrester
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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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