Book Review: The Penny Whistle Birthday Party Book

Rating: ★★★★☆

This is an outstanding handbook for putting on a children’s birthday party.  The author’s guiding principles in planning a party are that (1) parents can do the work themselves without having to hire professionals, (2) children ought to be involved in preparing for and hosting their own party, and (3) birthday parties should be expressions of personal style and time spent together rather than lavish, expensive affairs.  In their words, “Forget the fireworks; make a birthday banner yourself and your child will remember it forever.”

With these priorities in mind, Brokaw and Gilbar present an eminently practical handbook for putting on a homemade, creative party suited to your child’s age and interests.  Each of their 32 party themes comes with a suggested timeline, a design for a special invitation, a list of materials and instructions for decorations and games in keeping with the theme, and a themed menu with recipes for food that most kids will eat, which is simple to prepare (a very unusual combination in this kind of book).  There is also a suggested themed party cake for more ambitious parents.  (The cake I made for Christopher’s recent party stretched my baking abilities, and the so-called Seven-Minute Frosting took considerably longer to prepare, but it was a big hit with our party guests.)

This book takes the intimidation out of planning an original party by providing easy-to-implement, well thought through plans that can be executed by anyone, to whatever degree their energy (not their creativity) allows.  For unimaginative parents like myself who don’t want to spend money on a prefab themed party but do want to include their kids in preparing to host their friends for a celebration, this is a wonderful resource.

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Publication Information: Brokaw, Meredith. Penny Whistle Birthday Party Book, The. Gilbar, Annie. Penny Whistle; . 1992. ISBN: 0671737953.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age Adult
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Posted on June 29, 2009


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