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WHAT A PARTY! by Ana Maria Machado Kirkus Star


by Ana Maria Machado ; illustrated by Hélène Moreau ; translated by Elisa Amado

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55498-168-7
Publisher: Groundwood

A birthday party demands some pretty careful planning.

If you’re not careful, when your mother suggests that you invite a friend over for it, you might ask if your friend can bring someone (thinking of his “really cool brother”), plus some food. Your mom, distracted, will probably say, “Why not? Of course. Invite anyone you’d like.” So unless you’re careful, Jack will bring his cool brother, Larry, and they will bring two different kinds of coconut cookies. Beto and Antonieta will bring both their parrot and some tropical fruit. Fatima will bring her brother Djamel and their dog, along with tahini and pickled lemons. And so on. If you really lose control, the entire community will arrive, complete with salsa dancers and reggae band, and “your birthday party could turn out to be the craziest, wildest, funnest party ever.” Rio de Janeiro native Machado conjures a beguiling, joyful twist on the if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie scenario, constructing, guest by “carelessly” invited guest, a vibrant fiesta. Moreau’s acrylic-and–oil-pastel paintings complement the buoyant prose, populating the book with a cast of characters sporting a great variety of skin tones and hair colors, meticulously including their cod cakes, olives, sushi and more. Readers may well be inclined to emulate the drooling cat and dog under the jam-packed picnic table.

An effervescent celebration of the best possibilities of urban multiculturalism. Readers will want to move right in. (Picture book. 4-7)