Sebastian has overslept and almost misses his train, his only way to get to his best friend Serafina’s birthday party. Although he manages to catch the train his misadventures are only beginning: on rushing to the station he has forgotten Serafina’s gift. Fortunately he has his wallet… but how good is a wallet when being Sunday, all the village stores are closed? Sebastian sets out to get a present, any present. But his efforts bear no fruit… he is chased by a cat, a bunch of squirrels and some angry crows.
Finally, defeated, he decides to show up for the party even if he is not bringing a gift.
Grandpa, the family storyteller, has a cold and has not made the party. When Sebastian sits down on Grandpa’s chair and begins to tell his adventures all the bunnies present are delighted. A birthday party without stories would not be a real party: Sebastian has indeed brought the best gift of all!
This book was born out of a child’s request for a story. I was baby sitting Olmo, the grandson of my good friend Viví Escrivá whose beautiful art enhances so many of my books. We were in Viví’s country home in the beautiful town of Polop de la Marina, very close to the Mediterranean coast in the province of Alicante, Spain. Viví’s oldest daughter, Ana, had just arrived home with a beautiful bunny rabbit and Olmo was very taken by the bunny. When I offered Olmo to make a story just for him, trying to keep him close to me –quite a feat with Olmo as you can read in my Author’s Note to the book Olmo and the Blue Butterfly – he suggested the story should be about a bunny. I was about to begin a bunny story when he added: “and a train.”
Now, that was the magic clue, put together a bunny and a train and what does one get? The rabbit Sebastián who has problems being on time and almost looses the train on a most important day, Serafina’s birthday.
This was one of my first books published in the mainstream trade market in the United States and is such a source of joy. When the book went out of print –oh, how much damage an insensitive book review can cause! —I felt a great sense of loss. This had always been a favorite story to tell. It also was a favorite of my great-nephews, children of my sweet niece Marcie Fellers Pettit. She could never understand that the book would be kept from other children to enjoy as much as hers did.
Fortunately, a story can have many lives. Now Serafina’s Birthday or is available as a play in the book Roll-n-Role or as El cumpleaños de Serafina in Teatrín de don Crispín in the Gateways to the Sun or Puertas al sol theatre collection
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