What a Party!

By Ana Maria Machado • Illustrated by Hélène Moreau
Translated by Elisa Amado
Groundwood Books • 2013 • 32 pages
Hardcover ($18.95)
ISBN 978-1-55498-168-7
Ages 4-7

Planning your birthday party may become a great adventure, especially if your distracted mother tells you to invite whoever you want, warns the protagonist of this story as he uses his own party to illustrate his point. Before he realizes it, the young boy has invited all of his friends, who in turn invite their friends and their parents, a rap group and a reggae band.

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The fun part is naming all of the foods that everyone will bring. Besides the cake that his mother is going to bake, the boy names favorite dishes that his international friends contributed to his feast. There are mangos, pineapples, passion fruit, tajine with olives, pickled lemons, pizza, sushi, crepes, and couscous. There are also salsa dancers and rappers having such a great time that his guests stay almost the entire night.

Bright colored illustrations of the guests and the foods they bring look delicious, and the book presents a fun way to discuss different foods from around the world with youngsters. After reading it, you may choose to go on an adventure of your own and visit some of the different ethnic restaurants in your area. What a wonderful alternative to the usual cake and punch birthday party!

Reviewed by Dr. Veronica Covington, School of Information, University of Texas, Austin