Caterina and the Perfect Party

Erin Eitter Kono, Author
Erin Eitter Kono. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3902-4
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Caterina is “a little brown bird with great big colorful thoughts.” An inveterate list-maker who hates surprises, the bespectacled bird carefully plans every detail of the first party she’s ever thrown. Though the minimal text edges on precious (“The invitations will be... inviting. The decorations will be... decorative. The appetizers will be... appetizing”), Kono’s mixed-media illustrations provide cheerful zip, spotlighting the hostess’s high spirits and energy as she and her younger brother break out craft supplies and cookbooks to prepare. On the day of the party, Caterina gets both an unwelcome surprise—rain washes out the decorations and food she’s carefully assembled outdoors—and a happy one: her friends arrive bearing a replacement feast, and they have a grand time cavorting in the mud. Kono (Grand-mother, Have the Angels Come?) incorporates bits of fabric, images of stamps and coins, paper pinwheels, and more into her collaged drawings, all in keeping with Caterina’s DIY ethos. Caterina sets a good example for kids who have trouble rolling with the punches when best-laid plans go awry. Ages 3–5. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (July)
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