Beloved author Maurice Sendak’s Bumble-Ardy is inspired by a short, developed by Mr. Sendak and Jim Henson, for Sesame Street.
Bumble-Ardy is a young pig who has never had a birthday party because his family “frowned on fun”. When he was eight, his parents “got ate” and he went to live with his Aunt Adeline. Finally, for his ninth birthday, Aunt Adeline gives him a “hotsy tottsy cowboy costume” and leaves for work; Bumble decides to throw himself a masquerade birthday party that quickly escalates out of control, just as his aunt returns home from work. Sendak uses watercolors to illustrate his story, and the rapidly escalating party brings to mind the Wild Rumpus from Where The Wild Things Are.
The number nine is a major theme throughout the book: the party takes place at ten past nine; Aunt Adeline kisses Bumble-Ardy nine times over nine, and the number shows up in a great deal of the artwork, from a birthday candle on Bumble’s cake to the signs partygoers make for the celebration. Readers and listeners will enjoy the story of a little pig who wanted a birthday party so badly that he threw one for himself; they will also be reassured by the theme of forgiveness; Aunt Adeline can be angry, yet still kiss him and tell him she loves him.
This would be a fun addition to a birthday-related read-aloud. I would set up the read-aloud like a birthday party, with mini-cupcakes rather than cake, and milk, and decorate the storytime area as I would for a birthday party, with streamers and a sign. I would ask if there were any birthday boys or girls in the room, and have birthday ribbons for any birthday children to wear. Singing the Happy Birthday is a must, and the Perry Public Library has a Happy Birthday theme that includes other birthday-related songs and rhymes. Bumble-Ardy would also be a fun book to use a flannel board with, particularly for the party scenes.