Alfie and the Birthday Surpriseby Shirley Hughes (Author, Illustrator)
Alfie’s neighbor Mr. MacNally (Bob) is sad. His old gray cat Smoky passed away. Now Bob’s birthday is coming up and Maureen, his daughter, is worried that nothing could cheer him up. But Alfie suggests a surprise birthday party! Alfie’s parents and Bob’s family help put together the surprise party and pick out thoughtful gifts. Maureen, however, has a super special birthday present for Bob. She even leaves Alfie in charge to take care of this special present for the night. Will the surprise gift finally cheer up poor Bob?
Alfie is one of the popular characters in Shirley Hughes’s collection of children’s stories. Her illustrations are readily recognizable and her simple words capture small but important details of how young children feel. This is a beautiful and endearing story without being too sentimental. Although the story talks about death of a loved pet, I think the author has handled it with tact and sensitivity and ensured a happy ending for all.