Late Birthday


Story By: Andrew Frinkle


It was Erin’s birthday, but it didn’t feel like it. Every other year, Dad took off work so he could go somewhere and do something with her and mom. This year, he couldn’t. “Things are too busy at work,” he’d said. And while that made sense, it didn’t make it feel any better.


Mom tried to cheer her up. They baked banana bread cupcakes together, frosting them with cream cheese frosting. They were really good, and she even got to put some candles in them to blow out. Even so, it wasn’t the same.


Then there were the presents, or lack of them. She’d already gotten stuff from Grandma and Grandpa two weeks ago, so there was nothing to open there. Mom and Dad’s gifts had already been bought, too, so there weren’t any surprises. It was sort of sad, although there was some cash from random family members that she could use for something she wanted.


Dad got home late on that Thursday night, and they ate a quick dinner. It was chicken parmesan over pasta and red sauce. It was good, one of her favorites, but it just didn’t hit the spot. More cupcakes didn’t do the trick, either. They watched a movie then, one she’d wanted to see, but it just made her want to cry.


Dad hugged her and went to bed early, because he had a long day at work the next day. He’d be gone all day and not return home until she was already asleep. She wouldn’t see him once. How sad.


That Friday was hard to get through. Her birthday was over, it’d been horribly uneventful, and Dad was nowhere to be seen. How boring. She went to bed early, hoping the weekend would be better, and it WAS!


When she woke up on Saturday, there was a string of foil helium balloons around her bed. A small gift box and a card that read, “I’m Sorry – Dad” waited for her. She opened it and found a cute little necklace, just like one that mom had — now they’d match. That day, Dad took her out to lunch and followed her around dutifully as she shopped with her birthday money.


It’d started out to be a horrible birthday, but it ended up great, even if it had been a late birthday. Sometimes, it’s not the day, but the events themselves that matter.








Directions. Describe one character from the text. Use details from the text to support your thoughts.


What is the character’s problem?


How does the character feel at the beginning, middle, and end of the story?


Describe the actions the character takes to solve a problem.


Do you agree with what the character does? Why or why not?


How can you relate to the character? (Describe a time you, or someone you knew, have done something similar.)





Describe the setting.






What are some words or thoughts the characters or narrator use that give you an idea of the setting?


How would the story change if the setting changed? Give an example of a different setting and how the story would change.


Do you feel a connection to the setting? Have you, or someone you know, ever been to a similar place?





Who is telling the story?


Is the story being told from first or third person point of view? Explain how you know.