Clara Vulliamy
(Orchard Books)

Muffin the yummiest small brown bear has an exciting day ahead: it is Flora and Fizz’s birthday today and they are having a party. Muffin sets off to the party with a bag-full of iced buns for the twins, but gets a little peckish along the way. Once he gets there, there is plenty of birthday fun to be had, but what can Muffin do to turn an empty back of treats into an exciting present?

The Muffin series is pitched perfectly at its intended audience. The bold, brightly-coloured illustrations and cute and cuddly characters will delight toddlers while the anticipation and excitement of birthday parties will tap right into preschoolers’ interests, as at that age birthday parties are becoming big in their social calendar!

More importantly, Muffin’s world is a happy one which always goes a long way at making little readers feel safe. There is a little of peril thrown in, with Muffin being a little bit naughty and eating all the iced buns intended for Flora and Fizz. He feels quite guilty once he realises what he has done and worries about the consequences of his action. Again, this will be familiar territory for the young readers and might help soothe a few worries along the way.

I love Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations. They radiate happiness and warmth, thanks to a successful mix of vibrant colours and snuggly and friendly-looking characters. In Muffin and the Birthday Surprise this is combined with a gentle, yet fun and slightly wacky, storyline and therefore will undoubtedly be a success with preschoolers.

Look out for Muffin and the Expedition which is out right now, and Muffin and the Bedtime Cuddles which will be out in July.

All illustrations Clara  © Vulliamy

Thank you to Orchard Books for sending me a copy of “Muffin and the Birthday Surprise”

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Clara Vulliamy’s Fabulous Five, focusing on books for the very young.