Perfect Parties contains twenty-one projects for throwing a party. Each project is given a full-two-page spread that includes written and drawn directions. Photographs of the finished items are also shown. There is a lot of white space and the open layout makes it easy to follow along with the directions and see what needs to happen next. Throwing a party is lots of fun, and it all starts with the preparations. First, choose a theme, and then make the invitations. Some predictable decorations are included, but some usual ones too, like the jelly fellas made from paper cups and streamers. Hats, wrapping ideas and masks are all included. Most of the materials are readily available around the house. There are lots of craft books; this one is notable because it is well illustrated and easy to follow. Part of the "Handy Craft" series. 2001, Gareth Stevens, $22.60. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-These books get high marks for their simplicity and practicality. Both have pages bursting with energy and color. Each spread includes a boxed list of materials and distinctly numbered directions. Colorful drawings and clear photos leave little doubt about how to complete each step. Adult supervision is suggested when applicable. The first book begins with a description of various types of paints and painting tools, including a sponge, a toothbrush, and cotton swabs. Crafts include making a plaid book cover, painting pillowcases with string, and making place mats with paint-covered marbles, as well as using child-created stamps and stencils to decorate flowerpots, gift wrap, and stationery. The second title opens with a checklist for party givers to consider: theme, invitations, decorations, games and activities, prizes, food, and favors. The subsequent sections address all of these details. Suggested crafts include bicolored crepe-paper chains for decorations and games such as a pi-ata, indoor ball toss, tambourines, and a math fishing game. The personalized cookies and pizzas are sure to be a hit with young party goers and givers. Kim Solga's Paint! (North Light, 1991) shares some projects with Paints Plus but Souter's book focuses more on using paints to embellish practical items. Judy Bastyra's Parties for Kids (Kingfisher, 1998) is similar in scope and format to Parties, but its projects are more elaborate and the directions are less stepwise than Souter's book.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.