Sunday, January 01, 2023

Awesome Orange Birthday Party

Ruths, Mitali Banerjee and Jaleel, Aaliya (illus.)
Awesome Orange Birthday: A Branches Book
January 3, 2023 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Priya Chakraborty is a very motivated girl who likes to plan parties. After her Layal Aunty (her mother's friend) sees how well she does, she asks Priya to plan a party for her. Based on her aunt's favorite color, Priya carefully plans and coordinates the food, decorations, invitations, and other details so that she has the best orange themed party. She enlists helpers, like her grandmother, who does the cooking, and her best friend Melissa, who helps with the DIY decorations. While she is very careful and deliberate in her plans, and takes careful notes in her notebook, Priya also worries that she might have forgotten something. She also doesn't like surprises (although she acknowledges that others sometimes do), so is a bit anxious when unexpected things arise, even if it is much needed help in setting up from her mother's other friends. The party goes very well, and her aunt especially like the hand made gift that Priya has crafted for her. Since Priya wanted to be paid in donations to help save the quakkas in Australia, she is glad when the party is succeessful. Will she get to plan more parties? (Yes! In Starry Henna Night on 4-4-23!)
Strengths: Priya is an interesting and complex character for such a short book! She is interested in environmental issues, like protecting quokkas and using eco friendly products. She has a good friend in Melissa, and her family is supportive of her endeavors. The book moves along briskly with the plans for the party, and Priya's emotions are understandable, but her actions show resilience. The formatting of this book will appeal to older readers who like graphic novels, since there aren't that many words on the pages, and there are lots of appealing illustrations. If you've read The Owl Diaries, the format and bright colors will seem familiar. The age level on this is K-2, but I think this would be very successful with elementary school and even early middle school emergent readers. There's even some DIY instructions at the end of the book. 
Weaknesses: There is a lot of adult presence in the book, which is fine, but might not make this quite as popular with older readers. I'm curious to see who the next party will honor!
What I really think: This was a bit shorter than Sheth's Nina Soni books, but a little longer than Butler's Kayla and King series. I would have adored these as a child, and it's nice that they are available in paperback for home purchase. Of course, had I owned this book, I would have wanted to set up my own party planning business and driven my mother to distraction!

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment