Books Buffet of Asian Literature - Makan! CORL (Check Off your Reading List) Challenge 2014 GB Challenges Picture Books Reading Themes

A Multicultural Feast in Ana Maria Machado and Helene Moreau’s “What a Party!”

Myra here.

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We have just recently launched our current reading theme on “A Buffet of Asian Literature: Makan! Kain Tayo! Let’s Eat” where we will be enjoying foodie-themed books. And so I am glad to have found this picturebook in our public library.

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If your mother tells you a few days before your birthday to ‘invite anyone you like,’ this might justify the seemingly open-ended birthday invitation that you can see below:

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And who doesn’t love a party? Before you know it, your friend Jack brings his brother Larry who brings an entire bowl filled with coconut cookies; and Beto and Atonieta who brings along some mangos and a passion fruit (plus their cute parrot too). Then there”s Djamel with pickled lemons and tajine with olives:

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and Carlo and Tony who brought pizza and gelato, Hannah with black forest cake and springerle, and Tamio with the sushi. But it’s not just food the guests bring, there’s also a rap group, some salsa dancers, and even a reggae band.

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While the story seems like a cautionary tale for absentminded parents who may not know what they’re in for when they tell their child to invite anyone they like, this sounds like a party I would so love to attend. Look at this buffet of dishes here:

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In fact, it reminds me of my daughter’s school’s International Night where each family is to bring a dish from their own particular country and we do have an entire spread of multicultural dishes for sharing every year. How the party turned out, I shall leave for you dear readers to discover. I think the picture book would work even better if there is an author’s note or glossary of terms for some of the unfamiliar dishes mentioned in the story (such as ackie, springerle, cod cake, and tajine with olives). An easy-to-follow recipe for a few of the dishes would have been great too. Despite all that, I found this to be a colorful and delightful book that I think a lot of children would enjoy. What a Party indeed.

What a Party! by Ana Maria Machado and Helene Moreau. Published by Groundwood Books: House of Anansi Press, 2013. Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

1 comment on “A Multicultural Feast in Ana Maria Machado and Helene Moreau’s “What a Party!”

  1. This sounds awesome! 😀

    Like

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