This is my favorite children book of all time. I have read this book maybe a thousand times as a kid, or had my mother read it to me. This is one of the two books that I remember owning as a kid (the other was Si Gonjeng. ke Si Gonjang? aku pon dah lupa).
I love everything about the book — the illustration, the story, and of course the happy ending. The titular character is a lonely boy who did not get invited to a big birthday party, whereas everyone from A to Z got invited. I lost this book, along with other momentos of childhood, when our family moved to our new home in 1995.
I still carry some mental images from the book. I remember, on one of the pages, there is a long chain of ice cream trucks, each carrying giant scoops of ice cream for the party guests. Also, I remember a page towards the end of the book: the guests are celebrating, and giant balloons are released into the air. Some balloons have alphabets on them (from A to Z). My sisters and I used to trace a path using our fingers from balloon A to balloon B, all the way to balloon Z. I also remember that Hooper Humperdink has a yellowish dog.
Here are some pages from the book which I looked up from Google:
and of course the last page, in which Hooper Humperdink is FINALLY invited to the party. The ending has never failed to make the little Bal smile:
And today, it made me smile again. I got reminded of Hooper Humperdink because I just got an invitation to a friend’s birthday party.
Thank you Dr Seuss, thank you illustrator Charles Martin, you created the most memorable book of my childhood.
I just ordered one copy from Amazon, for old times’ sake. One day, I will read Hooper Humperdink to my own children just as my mother had read it to me when I was a little boy.