Beatrice More plans perfect parties—but her little sister’s birthday has snuck up on her this year, and things aren’t falling into place.
Eight-year-old Beatrice is a list-maker who thrives on being “professional” and keeping things tidy. When she realizes that Sophie’s birthday is in just two weeks, Beatrice has every intention of throwing the perfect party—but there are obstacles in her way. Her mother’s birthday cakes are lumpy and often burned. Her father sees no reason to buy new decorations even though their leftover decorations are from Halloween and Christmas. And, the family having recently moved, Sophie doesn’t have friends to invite, so Beatrice hands out invitations to random kids at the local playground. Things start to look up when Beatrice finds the perfect present for Sophie at the toy store, but then the dog gets to it while Beatrice looks for a hiding spot that won’t mess up her perfect bedroom. The expected problems are compounded by some unexpected, chuckleworthy ones, but Sophie declares her surprise party “absolutely purvect!” (Her idiosyncratic speech patterns may grate on readers.) Beatrice is brown-skinned like her mother; Sophie shares their father’s curly red hair and pale skin. Full-page illustrations move each chapter forward. Beatrice is quirky and familiar, with well-meaning parents; her settling for less than perfect is predictably sweet.
An appealing family story with a sincere and goodhearted protagonist. (Fiction. 6-9)