Saturday, June 22, 2013
What a Party! Written by Ana Maria Machado with pictures by Helene Moreau. Translation by Elisa Amado. Groundwood, 2013. $18.95 ages 4 and up
Ah, the dangers of a party! While the author makes it look like a bad thing, I think young readers will get the message that there is great joy to be had when friends join together for a celebration.
Given distracted permission to 'invite anyone you'd like', the birthday boy does just that! It begins with the suggestion that one friend come over for cake and juice. Perhaps that friend could bring his brother...you know how it goes. If Jack brings Larry, their mother might come along. Everyone is invited to bring whatever they would like to eat and additional guests. So, there's the food, and a soccer ball, and brothers, sisters and cousins, a canary, a parrot...it just keeps getting bigger AND BETTER!
And the food...oh, the food! There are coconut cookies, pineapple, mangos, passion fruit, tajine, pizza, Black Forest cake, springerle, flan, cod cakes, olives, sushi, couscous, crepes.....it's a multicultural extravaganza. There's music and dancing, soccer and basketball, chatting and great enjoyment at every turn.
That's what might happen if you don't make a careful plan for the party.
The acrylic and oil pastel artwork bursts with bold color, animated action, expressive faces, and food, glorious food! Kids will find much to discuss as they pore over its pages and they will find great entertainment in imagining what could happen when a party appears to be out of control. In this case, it is merrymaking at its finest.