cover image What a Party!

What a Party!

Ana Maria Machado, trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado, illus. by H%C3%A9l%C3%A8ne Moreau. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55498-168-7

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%E2%80%94as well as a birthday party that any kid would be lucky to have. Ages 4%E2%80%937. (Apr.)