Happy Birthday To Whooo?

Rosanne Tolin, former Editor of Guideposts for Kids

Author Doris Fisher’s debut children’s book, “Happy Bithday to Whooo”, is written in an ingeniously fun and educational format: part nature narrative, part riddle book. The melding of puns and pertinent information is so seamless, kids won’t even realize they’re learning cool facts about animal babies as they turn each colorful page. While readers are enticed to solve the mysteries—which creature is welcoming a new arrival?—the beautiful illustrations combined with lively, wordplay-packed birth announcements will keep them utterly intrigued.

School Library Journal - October, 2006

(K-Gr 3)–Alternating pages show an oil painting of an animal family that is almost totally obscured by a birth announcement. These announcements offer clues as to the creatures’ identities, such as the baby’s weight and height and other attributes. On the flip side, the illustration is revealed in its entirety, along with another fact about the baby. The art is simple, but realistically rendered. The parts that peek out around the edges of the announcement include feet, tails, and the creature’s native environment. The book concludes with additional facts about the featured subjects and an activity that helps children visualize their actual sizes. Interesting material presented in an unusual way.
Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Children’s Literature

Make way for the baby announcements with this fun-filled riddle book about baby animals. Simple, informative baby announcements perch on every right hand page. Readers and listeners are invited to guess which baby animal is being described before they turn the page to see the answer. The illustrations partly hidden behind the colorful announcements give clues as to the identity of the baby described. So do the names of the announcing parents. Simple animal facts are naturally included in the announcements. The facts offer the readers and listeners information, such as a baby owl weighs about two ounces, and a baby lion weighs about 250 pounds, or a baby seahorse is about one-half inch long. This type of information is offered without being didactic. Full-color, soft toned illustrations complement the text. A special section called “For Creative Minds” includes more facts and an animal numbers game. The book’s last page presents a creative writing page that allows youngsters to write their own baby announcement. It is the perfect way to end this book.
- Nancy Garhan Attebury

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - April 2007

Happy Birthday to Whooo? is an adorable book for little ones! The premise is that the reader must figure out, from a unique “birth announcement,” what kind of baby animal was born. Let me give you an example :
Celebrating Four Little Stinkers

My babies are born
on May 16,
weighing 1 ounce each,
and measuring 4 inches long.
Proud Mother: Mrs. P.U. Smell
What kind of baby animal was born?

My children had fun figuring each one of these out. This lovely book by Doris Fisher and illustrated by Lisa Downey is hardcover with a dust jacket. The illustrations are vivid and wonderfully done.

One thing that makes Arbordale books unique is the “For Creative Minds” section included in the back; it provides more information to expand your child’s learning. Happy Birthday to Whooo? includes detailed information on animal families and fun facts on each animal in the book, along with a special activity and craft. Detailed learning wrapped up in a storybook! Perfectly suited for homeschool families.

Look for more reviews of Arbordale’s wonderful storybooks. We have been impressed with all of them. A hearty recommendation from our family!
- Lisa Barthuly

Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile

Happy Birthday to Whooo? has a unique format.  The right side page contains a mock baby birth announcement, which is a riddle for the reader to guess the type of animal to which the announcement applies.  For instance, one announcement says:

Jumping With Joy
For My Baby Boy!
Born in Australia on June 2,

my baby is only 1/2 inch long
and weighs just 1/4 ounce.
Mrs. Down Under
is the happy mother.

Then the next page contains two kangaroos and a baby, with the text "A baby kangaroo grows inside its mother's pouch and is called a Joey."  It is a fun idea.  For us, the riddles didn't work.  I'm guessing my son is just a bit to young to get the idea (he's just under 3).  But we have read it multiple times anyway, just reading the left side pages (with the animal facts), and he enjoys it.  Again, I really like the illustration style (by Lisa Downey).  The educational section in the back includes information about animal families, some more animal fun facts, and an activity in which you create a 6 foot long line with chalk, and then mark the length or height of each animal mentioned in the book.
- Lynn

Children's Book Reviews

Who doesn’t love babies! Even the most jealous two to three year old new sibling can’t get in enough play about babies in the preschool house corner. Those new siblings, and indeed all children, will adore this book about baby animals. They will be bound to pour over the illustrations and animal facts.

Kudos to the author-illustrator combo, Doris Fisher and Lisa Downey, for creating such an endearing picture book. Lisa Downey’s pastel illustrations are as soft as the baby animals they depict. It’s always amazing how adept pastel artists are at painting so fully in this seeming elusive medium. Doris Fisher is able to present animal facts in a clever, guessing game way. Children will have fun guessing who the new little baby is, either with their parents or in circle time at school. The animal information at the end of the book will be a wonderful jumping off point for a delightful lesson plan on baby animals. Toddlers will enjoy identifying and mimicking the baby animals, while older children up to seven or eight years old will have fun making up their own guessing game about these and other animals. A recommended read for sure.

Heartland Reviews - July, 2006

This picture book is a cute riddle book that uses birth announcement cards to teach how big different baby animals are. At the end there are short factoids about the animals represented. We rated this book four hearts.
-Bob Spear

Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, NY- June, 2006

Practically all kids love animals, babies, and riddles. So what could be more appealing to them than a collection of animal baby riddles?

In her imaginative, charming new book, author Doris Fisher cleverly presents the reader with birth announcements from proud animal parents whose names give clues to the type of animal just born: “Mr. and Mrs. Night Hunter” suggest owls while “Ms. Ivor E. Tusks” hints at elephants...

Lisa Downey’s beautiful full-color illustrations dramatically confirm the reader’s answers to the birth announcement riddles once the reader turns the page.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO WHOOO? is a delightful, fun, educational book that will be sure to entertain any young reader who likes a good riddle about a favorite subject. Adults will learn a few fascinating facts about animals too.
- Marvin Terban, Author and Teacher, 2005 SCBWI Member of the Year

Armchair Interviews - April 2007

Happy Birthday to Whooo? A Baby Animal Riddle Book is designed for children ages 4 to 8, and has a handsomely designed jacket displaying owls on the front cover and 12 additional animals on the back.

Doris Fisher effectively reaches her intended young audience. The book contains bold and vibrant images of illustrator Lisa Downey, the pages alternate with oil paintings of an animal family and a birth announcement. The birth announcements contain clues to the animal's identity, offering facts of the weight and height. When you turn the page, you find more facts about the baby animal.

The book contains riddles introducing 12 different animals that will engage and amuse the young reader. The book contains a section entitled "For Creative Minds" that everyone is sure to love as it section contains information about the animal families and fun facts about the 12 animals introduced in the birth announcements.

As for illustrator Lisa Downey, her page design is colorful, vivid and eye-friendly transporting the reader into the heart of the story.

You will find "Learning Links" and "Teaching Activities" on Arbordale Publishing's website that will help both teachers and parents expand the learning possibilities. The website is:

The book is addressed to children and young readers, but can be enjoyed by the entire family. The book will excite your children and they will want to read this one over and over again. As an added bonus in the back of the book there is a "Make Your Own Birth Announcement," great for a new baby in the family whether it be human or animal.

Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended!
- Terry South

Wee Ones Magazine

Happy Birthday to Whooo?, makes learning about baby animals fun. Much different from other "baby" books, Doris Fisher creates short riddles that describe the baby animal about to born. Each description is detailed in a baby announcement format. Children have to guess what the baby is, which makes this interesting and a joy to read. Turn the page and beautiful illustrations of the proud parents and their new babies appear.

Illustrations are realistic and beautifully done. This book is a treat to read and will keep young ones asking to read and look it at over and over!
- -Emma's Bookcase

Powell's Books - November 2006

This witty book of baby announcement riddles will have children giggling as they try to guess what animal baby was just born. The last birth announcement has a fill-in-the-blank spot for birth info about a new family member--whether it be a brother, sister, puppy or kitten! Like all Arbordale titles, "Happy Birthday to Whooo?" includes a "For Creative Minds" section and "Learning Links" and "Teaching Activities" are available at This scientifically accurate Accelerated Reader title is written by Doris Fisher and illustrated by Lisa Downey for children ages 4 to 8. - Sept 25, 2006

Over the years, I've come across several animal baby books. Some talk about the relationship between mother and baby, while others focus only on the babies. But until I came across this book, I'd never seen one quite like it.

Happy Birthday to Whooo? By Doris Fisher, is a delightful animal riddle book that includes birth announcements within the text! Each set of pages in the book focuses on a particular animal. On one side of the page, there are clever facts about the animal. On the other side of the page, there is a colorful birth announcement for the animal baby. Children will be delighted to learn facts about eagles, leopards, elephants, blue whales, kangaroos, flamingos, camels, lions, seahorses, giraffes, skunks, and great horned owls.

Fisher cleverly designed the text to provide interesting and often unknown facts about animals. For example, did you know that in the first few weeks of his or her life, a baby whale drinks, "...enough milk to gain 200 pounds every day?" The birth announcements are wittily constructed to allow children to guess the baby animal before looking at the pictures. For example, the announcement for the baby giraffe names the mother as, "Mrs. On Stilts," and gives a weight of 150 pounds and an initial height of 6 feet.

Lisa Downey's illustrations in Happy Birthday to Whooo? are lovely. The birth announcement pages are constructed so that the child doesn't have to guess "too" hard to figure out who the baby animal is, because various parts of the animals are sticking out behind the announcement. The pages are colorful but soothing, making this a lovely bedtime story as well as a great read-aloud story any time of the day or night.

Happy Birthday to Whooo? will delight young children, who often have a fascination with animals. And the riddle pages with the birth announcements will let curious children learn and guess, essential skills for early learning.
- Catherine Ipcizade

BookLoons Reviews - July 2007

This riddling picture book begins, 'Everyone has a birthday', challenging young readers to work out which baby animal has been born from clues in each set of parents' birth announcements.

They start with Mr. and Mrs. Night Hunter announcing their new 'little balls of fluff' additions to the nest. The page following each announcement shows the proud family, so that readers can see if they guessed right. It also includes information on the babies' early habits, for example 'A baby blue whale drinks enough milk to gain 200 pounds every day for the first few weeks.' Wow'

At the back of the book, kids can learn more about the creatures they've just met in Animal Fun Facts. There's also an animal Number's Game, and a template to create your own Birth Announcement for a family member or a pet.

Laura Williams' Musings - October 2007

This book makes for a fun guessing game with you children as each page is set up as a birth announcement for a particular animal. My children quickly caught on to listen for clues in the announcement and were shouting out the animal before I was done reading same.

In the back of the book, is a Creative Minds section to learn more about baby animals as well as other educational items. There is also a page to make your own birth announcement.

I can see possibilities of creative writing using the birth announcement. An older elementary child could be asked to find the details of a particular animal at birth and then write the announcement for that baby.

You could also use this book as a baby shower gift for a new Mother. What a fun keepsake this would be for the mother to fill in the birth announcement with her new baby's information. The little one would enjoy having the book read to him or her as she grew.

I give this book a bright line of 5 stars
- Laura Williams

The Reading Tub - March 2008

Summary: Welcome! Parents are always so proud to introduce their new baby to the world ... and animals are no exception. In this book you'll find cleverly worded birth announcements for animals of the sea, air, and land. This is a book of twelve riddles about animals kids know and love.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader, remedial reading

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 7 to 9

Age of Child: Shared with a Kindergarten class of 5- and 6-year-olds.

Little Kid Reaction: The kids had fun putting together the clues to guess the baby animal. And of course they loved the name Mrs. P.U. Smell!

Big Kid Reaction: This is a wonderfully clever book. There is plenty of double entendre to cause an adult to giggle. I was surprised how quickly they guessed the animals. Each riddle has clues, but none is an out-and-out give-away (at least for a Kindergartener).

Pros: Kids will love this engaging picture book that lets them do the thinking and guessing about animals. In addition to the riddle vignettes, there are more details about each species in the back.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. The book is clever, and even when the kids know the answer, they will still want to come back to it. You can also add to the fun by creating games from the information (e.g., organize a calendar, line them up by size, weight, height, etc.).