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Children's Fiction Birthdays

What a Party!

by (author) Ana Maria Machado

illustrated by Helene Moreau

translated by Elisa Amado

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2013
Birthdays, Cooking & Food, City & Town Life
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


If it is just a few days until your birthday, and your mother says you can invite anyone you like to come over to play, be careful! If you don't watch out, you might soon be having the craziest party ever, with people and food from around the world. Before you know it, night could come and go and a new day could begin, and the dancing might still be going strong. At least, that is what happens in this humorous and irresistibly joyful cautionary tale!

In a celebration of neighbors and diversity, an open-ended party invitation results in a raucous gathering of children, pets and parents (plus salsa dancers and a reggae band!), all feasting on food from all over the world. Couscous, crepes, salad, ackee--there isn't enough room on the table for all the food. And it's noisy too, because people don't stop talking while they eat and dance. The party might have gotten out of hand a bit, but nobody minds--after all, it is the craziest, wildest, funnest party ever!

Everyone loves a party, and with its vivid illustrations and irresistibly playful text, this picture book delivers the rowdiest, happiest birthday party ever.

About the authors

Ana Maria Machado is one of the world's most distinguished writers for children, with more than 100 books published in her native Brazil and in more than 18 other countries. She has won the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Iberoamerican Children's Literature Award, and she has been elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters — the first writer for children to be so honored. She has also been chosen for the honor list of the highly prestigious Dutch Prince Claus Award. Groundwood has published two of her novels, Me in the Middle (Américas Award Commended List) and From Another World, and her picture books Wolf Wanted, which won the Hors Concours (FNLIJ), and What a Party! Ana Maria lives in Rio de Janeiro.

Ana Maria Machado's profile page

After studying graphic design and working as a designer, Hélène Moreau turned to children's book illustration. She has illustrated many picture books, including, also with Ana Maria Machado, Reve noir d'un lapin blanc. She lives in Paris.

Helene Moreau's profile page

Elisa Amado's profile page

Editorial Reviews

...[the] warm, glowing acrylic-and-pastel paintings, depict the backyard jamboree from a below-eye-level perspective, allowing readers to feel like they are there. Warning: they may not want to leave this delightfully diverse celebration.


An effervescent celebration of the best possibilities of urban multiculturalism. Readers will want to move right in.

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Machado, a prolific Brazilian writer for young children and the winner of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, offers an inspired vision of what the "craziest, wildest, funnest party ever" ought to be.

The New York Times

... a big-hearted vision of community, generosity, and the benefits of a little chaos—as well as a birthday party that any kid would be lucky to have.

Publishers Weekly

Author Machado, who won the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Award – the world’s highest international recognition for kiddie book writers and illustrators – knows how to party, bringing together all the different friends, families, cuisines from around the world into one multi-culti celebration.

BookDragon, book review blog produced by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC)

…a celebration of diversity and of the sense of community. Augmented by Hélène Moreau’s illustrations, it is an attractive book that fits neatly within Canada’s proudly multicultural identity.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

This book works well in multicultural activities and Social Studies lessons. Older students can research the cultures and foods. Recipes for the exotic dishes could be used in math and science activities.

Library Media Connection

Other titles by Ana Maria Machado

Other titles by Elisa Amado