cover image The Perfect Party

The Perfect Party

Laurel P. Jackson, illus. by Hélène Baum-Owoyele. Yeehoo, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-953458-12-4

Party planning causes pandemonium among well-meaning zoo animals in this picture book. Wanting Little Robin to have “the perfect fooohhhuuod,” “Mr. Owl from the United States” hollers, while “Mr. Cow from England” hopes noisily for “the perfect moosic.” The animals—including roosters from China, Germany, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Portugal as well as, slightly bafflingly, mammals from unspecified origins—soon become frenzied over music choices as each sings in their native language. “ ‘Ribbit. Ribbit,’ sang the Pacific Tree frog,” before the Polish, Iranian, Korean, and Thai frogs join in. Onomatopoeia in various languages is highlighted in different colors as Ms. Water Buffalo eventually serves as conductor. Similar issues arise when each animal contributes cultural cuisine (says Mr. Frog from Italy, “Wait until you taste my Riiiiiibolita!” quickly rebutted by “Ms. Parakeet from India”)—until an accident results in an unexpected happy ending. A tidy promotion of cross-cultural collaboration unites this chaotic picture book by Jackson, with bright, jovial illustrations created in watercolor and rendered digitally by Baum-Owoyele. Ages up to 8. (Aug.)