Friends certainly are the most important of all. No matter how much we try to plan and make sure everything turns out perfect, our friends will always be there for us if our plans don’t quite go as planned. Little Caterina, a cute brown bird, realizes the importance of friends and flexibility as she struggles through planning her perfect party in Caterina and the Perfect Party by Erin Eitter Kono. The story opens with creative Caterina crafting and making lists about things she likes and doesn’t like. She is adamant about not liking surprises. Therefore, she plans her perfect party down to the last detail with her well-organized lists. Caterina and her little brother, Leo, laboriously makes invitations, decorations, and appetizers. However, she encounters the surprise of a storm on the day of the party, which makes all of her lists and plans useless. Fortunately, the list of her friends is still useful and important, since they throw her a party despite her ruined plans. She realizes that this is the best surprise and party of all!
The illustrations in Caterina and the Perfect Party are absolutely adorable. Kono uses collage, paper crafting, and painting to create this picture book. The party vocabulary is fun and well represented through the bright and detailed pictures. Kono also includes formulas of pictures for the decorations and appetizers, which provides a great example for planning and allows the picture to tell the story.
This book is a great way to help kids be flexible and understand the importance of true friendships. Caterina’s story would be wonderfully appropriate to read to children before a big day or a party to decrease their anxiety and let them know that their friends will still be there for them even if their plans do not come to fruition.