Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish: Kids Love Having Rules
We have a birthday coming up in our house for our littlest, so it got me thinking. What is officially the coolest thing about having a birthday as a kid? Is it the presents? I suppose it is for some people. Is it the games or the camaraderie? Perhaps. These are both very strong candidates. But I also remember vividly being a kid and being surrounded by loved ones. For some reason they would circle around me and begin to serenade me - after which I would blow out my candles, and everyone would applaud me for a spectacular display of lung power. Now that’s certainly not something that happens every day of the year.
I think there’s a very strong argument to be made that the entire birthday wish ritual is the coolest thing about a kid’s birthday party - because it’s certainly the most imaginative and magical part. And you know I’m all about a magical and imaginative childhood. That’s why I think it’s a fantastic idea to write a picture book entirely about the birthday wish. And not only is Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish dedicated entirely to the magical and mysterious birthday wish, but it even dissects the birthday wish into 10 important rules you have to remember for it to work properly.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to us by the publisher. All reflections and recommendations are very much our own.
Now, assuming other kids out there are anything like our son, this concept of having rules is genius. Kids love rules. I think it’s part of their spongelike ability to absorb knowledge. It’s in our nature to want to assign rules to things so that we can make sense of them. Even when dealing with magic and the imagination (or perhaps especially when dealing with magic and the imagination) rules add mystery and depth.
There’s a book from my childhood called Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor. It’s entirely composed of made-up rules for choosing the perfect rock for you. And it is absolutely mesmerizing. Our son really loves it. We could be in bed and suddenly he’s ready to go hunting for rocks.
Rules can add elegance and value to something seemingly mundane. And this entire reflection reminds me of my favorite conversation about nurturing the spark of a magical childhood. This sense of wonder is what it’s all about.
Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish is a fantastic book for very similar reasons. The tradition of making a birthday wish has been going on for many, many years. And throughout the years we’ve all heard whispers of things you must do to insure it comes true - blow out the candles in a single breath, for example.
But now we have the definitive rulebook in our hands. Something like this really has the potential to be the type of thing our kids will remember forever. I imagine someone mentioning birthday wishes when they’re 70 years old and they’ll think - wait a second, I know the rules for this.
There are exactly ten rules in this book, and they are all very well chosen by author Beth Ferry, and beautifully illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. The animals that he drew for this book are just adorable. I really love this art style. And Ferry describes the rules in such a creative way, and includes lots of good side jokes. Very funny addendums are often added to the rules. For instance, insects with a short life span need not follow rule #1 - “it must be your birthday”. And, if you are pointy in any way, you might want to skip balloons.
As part of a blog tour organized by Penguin Young Readers - in celebration of the release of Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish - I have been asked to reveal the coolest and most mysterious rule of all:
Rule no. 10
Don’t forget that “wish” ends in “SHHHHHH”
so keep your wish quiet,
We’ve all been hearing this rule for years, and I think not being able to say your wish out loud is definitely the most magical of all of the birthday wish rules. Nothing adds more mystery to the entire ritual than having to keep the entire thing a secret.
I even have vivid memories of how this all made me feel as a kid. And how seriously I would take choosing my wish. I love imagining my kids turning this idea over in their heads and running with it. And nothing makes me happier than nurturing a little creativity and wonder.
If you’d like to read even more about this book, and uncover more of the ten birthday wish rules, make sure to visit these other websites on the tour:
Rule #1 - Storymamas
Rule #2 - Dream Reader Kids
Rule #3 - Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Rule #4 - Think Grow Giggle
Rule #5 - Language During Mealtime
Rule #6 - Teachers Who Read
Rule #7 - What’s a Kid to Read
Rule #8 - Lu and Bean Read
Rule #9 - the.book.report
If you’re looking for picture books about birthdays, make sure to read this article too:
Let’s Have a Dog Party!
Do your kids follow all of the birthday wish rules? Does your family have a favorite birthday book? Let us know in the comments!