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Aunt Ceecee, Aunt Belle, and Mama's Surprise
ISBN: 9780385322751
Author: Quattlebaum, Mary
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Published: May 1999
Retail: $15.95    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 81%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Annotation: Because nit-picking Aunt Belle and slapdash Aunt CeeCee help plan the surprise party for her mother's birthday, the young planner faces lots of frenzy and confusion
Additional Information
Physical Information: 0.52" H x 8.71" L x 11.17" W 32 pages
Bargain Category: Picture Books, Holiday/Seasonal, Growing Up, Early Elementary
Grade level(s): Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1999 June #1)
Chesworth's (Archibald Frisby) cartoon artwork, an homage to the Jazz Age, adds an effervescent charm to Quattlebaum's (Jazz, Pizzazz, and the Silver Threads) tongue-in-cheek tale of an eccentric family attempting to pull off a surprise party. The narrator, a "take-charge kind of girl," has to overcome the inefficiency of both Aunt CeeCee, who "slapdashes at the very last minute" (she's too busy reading movie magazines to mail the invitations), and Aunt Belle, who "nitpicks the tiniest things" (finding just the right streamers becomes an obsession). The artwork brims with period details, from spats to flapper dresses and cloche hats. Dialogue boxes add a comic-strip-like element to the cartoony artwork: "Remember, I don't want a party," declares the narrator's mother, throwing up her hands in disdain; "You said that yesterday," observes the narrator, as the idea takes root. Other witty touches include a band of unruly cats who up the ante as the moment of the honoree's arrival approaches: "They were playing Tarzan with the streamers and hippo with the punch" (from the hilarious illustration, "playing hippo" seems to involve standing eyeball-deep in the punch). The book conveys the narrator's pride in saving the day, but makes that, too, part of the book's humor: the last page shows the narrator, mouth wide, telling the story for the umpteenth time while her mother and aunts laugh along. Like them, readers will be happy to hear this tale of teetering on the brink of party disaster over and over. Ages 5-8. (May) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1999 July)
K-Gr 4-A feisty girl narrates the story of the surprise birthday party that she plans for her mother with the help of Mama's sisters. She describes all of the usual problems that go along with trying to pull off a surprise. Daddy can't seem to remember the secret code, Aunt CeeCee insists on "slapdashing" things together at the last minute, and Aunt Belle "nitpicks" over little details. The clever heroine deftly juggles her difficult relatives and manages to pull off the perfect celebration, complete with just the right gift. While the illustrations set the story in the Roaring `20s, this is a timeless tale. The fun, frenetic watercolor paintings, which move the plot along through the use of comic-book style layouts and dialogue balloons, have many details to keep readers looking back for more, and are instrumental in bringing each of the characters to life. Because the artwork demands close examination, this is a book to share one-on-one rather than in storytime; it is also well suited to beginning readers. A good choice for eager party planners, and certainly for loving daughters.-Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.