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Author: Sheri Radford

Illustrator: Christine Tripp

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Publisher: Lobster Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: It's Penelope's birthday, so of course she's having a birthday party! What her parents didn't know, though, was that Penelope invited practically everyone ... and not just people! This is a humorous picture book story about a young girl's birthday party.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 3.7

Age of Child: Read with and by a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter laughed and giggled her way through this book every time we shared it. She particularly liked pointing out some of the behaviors (like chocolate hand prints on the walls). There are several places where she asked us to stop so she could explore the pictures.

Adult Reader Reaction: The illustrations make this book. The story is cute, though once you've read it a time or two, you are ready to move on. It would be really fun to read with preschoolers, but it is also good to share with an emergent reader, because the text is driven by dialogue, so parents and child can play their roles (or reverse them!)

Pros: A big party, silly guests, and humorous illustrations combine in this laugh-out-loud book for preschoolers and kindergartners.

Cons: The parents have no control over their daughter and have lost control of the situation. If you are sensitive to mom and dad being less than parental and children behaving badly, you may not enjoy this book.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The younger the child, the more laughs you're likely to have. Don't rush to read the text ... enjoy the stories being told in the illustrations.

If You Liked This Book, Try: I WENT TO THE PARTY IN KALAMAZOO   OLIVE'S PIRATE PARTY   PARTY PRINCESS (Teach Your Children Well Series)

Educational Themes: This is meant to be a silly story. That said, there are teaching moments about being a party guest, appropriate indoor behavior, and making choices. The book is leveled at 3.4 (Flesch Kincaid) because the sentences are long. This is well suited to reader's theater for first and second graders to practice their vocabulary development.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, life lessons, birthday, humor

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2009

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