An African-American girl describes plans for a classroom birthday celebration in Mitchell’s picture-book debut with art by Pellerin (An Alligator’s Hide, 2017, etc.).
Kyeisha is excited about her upcoming birthday party in her third-grade classroom at Rosa Parks Elementary. She’s going to bring cupcakes baked by her grandma, ice cream, and soda for punch. She also plans to purchase paper plates with pictures of Harriet Tubman on them. Her mother ordered balloons, and her older brother will record the party on video. She’ll also be wearing a brand-new outfit that’s yellow, her favorite color. The story ends with the characters still planning, so readers never get to see if the party lived up to Kyeisha’s expectations. Libraries looking for diverse offerings may wish to add this day-in-the-life title to their collections, as Mitchell peppers the tale with details that draw on African-American history and culture, including a Tubman doll that Kyeisha got for Kwanzaa and a mention of her grandfather’s favorite baseball team, the Negro Leagues’ Detroit Stars. Kyeisha’s voice accurately portrays the stream-of-consciousness enthusiasm of a 7-year-old. But occasional errors, including two oddly repeated sentences, give the narrative a choppy feel. Pellerin’s lackluster work offers minimal background details and a bland cover image.
A book with intriguing historical references that’s hampered by uneven prose and mediocre illustrations.