Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Beatrice Alemagna
Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna
It's Harold's birthday. His parents want to do something extraordinary for him so they consult with Mr. Ponzio. On the appointed day Mr. Ponzio approaches their home with a parade of animals! What a great birthday surprise! The surprises keep coming and when surprises don't stop, pretty soon they have a disaster: hippos in the bathtub, a menagerie in mother's clothes, and mother and father in a locked trunk! Things are seriously out of hand. Mr. Ponzio waves a stick which sends the elephant running into the street with all of the other animals racing behind. Mom and Dad are released from their case and in the end all is well. Harold has made a lot of new friends and the mess is cleaned up and put away.
Surprisingly, most parents will discover that a zoo of animals at a birthday party may not differ all that much from a party of children running amok. Of course, this birthday goes to the extreme of extremes with hillariously fun results. The illustrations are very colorful and have a very unique style that is comical and chaotic all by itself. There is a lot to see on each page and readers can create their own stories about what is going on in the background. This delightful book is a good one to remind people that chaos happens, and great things can come from events that feel like a disaster. Things can be rebuilt and mended, but people, especially family are the most important things of all.