Grandpa Crow is having a party, and the whole forest is invited, throughout the day and night.
But this isn’t any old celebration—every childhood game imaginable is crammed into this tiny tree. It starts with the animals playing Hide and Seek, then some practice counting, followed by Follow the Leader and Simon Says, with some pizza and ice cream thrown in for good measure. Children will delight in recognizing these games, but it’s enough to make one’s head spin. The rollicking, yet highly uneven rhyme scheme doesn’t help. Patterns begin and then break. Rhythms falter from the very start: “ ‘I’m having a party!’ shouted Grandpa Crow. / ‘Spread the word so our friends all know. / Come one, come all, and make merry with me. / What could be better than friends together at a party in a tree?’ ” The text livens up when the dancing and onomatopoeia beats drop in. But Manders’ expressive animals, from slimy slugs to a mischievous raccoon shaking his booty, are the true life of this party.
Not to be a party pooper, but this bash requires too much extra work from the reader to make it a success. (Picture book. 3-5)