Machado, a prolific Brazilian writer for young children and the winner of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, offers an inspired vision of what the "craziest, wildest, funnest party ever" ought to be.
The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
If a boy crafts a highly open-ended invitation to his birthday party, there's no telling what might happen. "Come to my party. It's my birthday. Bring along whoever you want and whatever you like to eat," he writes. Machado (Wolf Wanted) structures the book as a hypothetical cautionary tale for readers, and each character she introduces brings food, family members, friends, and sometimes animals to the celebration: "And if Fatima, who is Antonieta's best friend, decides to bring her brother, Djamel, maybe they'll have to drag along their dog." Moreau's acrylic-and-oil pastel illustrations set a celebratory tone, with smiling children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and an assortment of globe-spanning foods, from "tajine with olives and pickled lemons" to sushi that Mrs. Tanaka sends along with her son. With the arrival of a rap group, salsa dancers, and a reggae band by dusk, the party is in full swing. It's a big-hearted vision of community, generosity, and the benefits of a little chaos—as well as a birthday party that any kid would be lucky to have. Ages 4–7. (Apr.)
"Machado, a prolific Brazilian writer for young children and the winner of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, offers an inspired vision of what the 'craziest, wildest, funnest party ever' ought to be." —
The New York Times Book Review "An effervescent celebration of the best possibilities of urban multiculturalism. Readers will want to move right in." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"If a few days before your birthday your mother should say, 'I think I’m going to bake a cake and buy some juice. Why don’t you ask one of your friends to come over to play?' You might do what I did and remember that Jack has a really cool brother. And then you might say, 'Well, could Jack bring someone and maybe some food, too?'
And then your mother, feeling a bit distracted, might answer, 'Why not? Of course. Invite whoever you’d like.'" — from the book
This book could be renamed
Birthday Party Planning: A Cautionary Tale. It is all about what happens when youthe hostfail to give enough details to your guests. When you leave the instructions vague, such as "Bring along whoever you want and whatever you like to eat," you may get soccer balls, parrots, dogs, entire families, pickled lemons, sushi, rappers, salsa dancers, a reggae band, and basketball games at your party. All the neighborhood's kids might show up, along with their parents and favorite pets. People may be dancing, singing, and playing games into the wee hours of the night. Of course, with so many people, one day of celebrating is just not enough. It will most likely roll over into the next day. What a disaster!...Or is it? Who says there are rules for birthday parties? When the birthday boy learns to relax and embrace the chaos, it turns out to be his best birthday ever! Reviewer: Heather Welsh
Children's Literature - Heather Welsh
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)