Illus. in full color. Nicky wants to have a surprise party--for himself! He gets his friend Albert to invite all the kids, and make sure there's lots of cake and presents. What could go wrong? That's where the real surprise is!??
Before beginning, let me make it clear that I am reviewing The Surprise Party by Annabelle Prager and illustrated by Tomie de Paola, which is a Step 2 Book designed to be read by children in grades 1-3. There are several books by this name that are quite different from one another in their stories and in their intended audiences. Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute. To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. The Surprise Party was one of her picks.Nicky, like many children (and adults), is really looking forward to his birthday party. But, alas! He doesn't have enough money to put on a party for himself. He persuades his friend Albert to enlist their friends to give Nicky a surprise party instead, so Nicky can have all of the presents and fun without the expense. The story develops humorously from there into many rewarding plot complications that revolve around the theme of trying to have your cake and eating it too. For a simple story, the book contains much to interest you and your child. I have noticed over the years that people have vastly different thoughts about whether they enjoying having and giving surprise parties. You will help you child develop a sense of what her or his feelings are on these subjects, as well as beginning to realize that others often feel differently. This has a broader lesson, as well as helping your child avoid upsetting others in the future with the best of intentions concerning surprise parties.I would particularly like to praise the illustrations in this book. They show lots of interesting children interacting in positive, friendly ways. Everyone is beautiful in his or her own way.Annabelle Prager has a witty sense of humor, and the book benefits from many little jokes that she includes.Although some children will be able to read this by themselves in first grade, I think it is probably better aimed at a second grader. Children younger than first grade will enjoy having it read to them. After you have finished enjoying the story, I suggest that you discuss with your child when surprises are good things (like parties for people who like them) and when they are not so good (like losing something and not telling anyone it is lost until the item is desperately needed). As a result, you can help your child develop a better appreciation for good communications as a way to make life more wonderful for all.Surprise someone! . . . nicely.
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