Five great parties in kids books…

1) The Bagthorpe’s Christmas Party in “Absolute Zero” by Helen Cresswell.

Festive moment: “Everybody screamed and shouted and fought to get clear of the blazing tree.”

2) Cantaloupe Day from “The Pushcart War” by Gene Merrill.

Festive moment: “There is dancing in the streets and a pea shooter contest for children.” (Peas shooters, you’ll, recall are what won the Pushcart War.)

3) The Mad Hatter’s party from “Alice in Wonderland.” Festive moment: Hatter asks “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” (One must admit that this scene is much improved by imagining Ed Wynn’s voice and those amazing Disney/Mary Blair drawings.)

4) Dolly’s Birthday Party from Richard Scarry’s “Please and Thank You Book.”

Festive moment: “‘Ha! Ha! Ha!,’ laughed Lowly. ‘What a crazy donkey I am!'” (Honorable Mention goes to Miss Honey’s end-of-the-year picnic when Lowly wins the sack race.)

5) The Long Party from “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin.

Festive Moment: “‘Some people have all the luck,’ Sydelle Pulaski said, appearing from nowhere to lean over the tray to spear a cube of pork.'”

 There are great parties in “Food Friends” and “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie,” by my wife Cece Bell, but her pick is:

“The Bear’s Water Picnic” by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake.

Festive moment: “There was something for everyone: acorns for the pig, barley for the hen, hazel nuts for the squirrel, dead beetles for the hedgehog…”

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