Awesome Orange Birthday: A Branches Book

Scholastic. (The Party Diaries: Bk. 1). Jan. 2023. 80p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338799620.
Gr 1-4–Priya is launching her own business, party planning! After successfully planning and hosting her three-year-old brother’s birthday party, Priya is organizing her aunt Layla’s, too. The prospect of this new adventure is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Every day after school, Priya spends time planning for her special aunty, with the help of friend and neighbor Melissa. Some of Priya’s family appear in traditional Indian attire, and the amazing menu presented reflects Priya’s culture as well. It’s clear that Priya has some form of anxiety, and it is normalized through the character development. The 10 chapters, each from eight to 12 pages long, make for a readable and well-paced text for youngsters. Each page has color illustrations, and a variety of techniques are used for visual supports, including word bubbles, glossaries, lists, and maps. While this is a work of fiction, there is an element of nonfiction in the depiction of what party planning entails: supplies, menu planning, and DIY decorations, to name a few.
VERDICT This series debut aimed at newly independent readers provides short, colorful, diary-style entries with a sweet central character. Strongly recommended.

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