The Birthday Ball is the latest novel by Lois Lowry, but it bears little resemblance to the Lowry novels I've read before. One of Lowry's greatest talents as a writer is to break new ground and somewhat defy categorization.
The Birthday Ball is a delightful fairy tale of sorts. Our heroine, Princess Patricia Priscilla, is a feisty princess who longs for a normal life. She soon devises a plan to swap clothes with her nursemaid and begin attending school. The story is a funny, wacky fairy tale. I was absolutely transported to this land of magic. For Princess Patricia Priscilla, the kingdom and its riches were ordinary, and she was transported to her fairy tale: being a peasant girl in school able to help make dreams come true. For her nursemaid, she was given days of leisure to read Alice in Wonderland, a wacky fairy tale in its own right.
Perhaps the best part of The Birthday Ball was it's humor. Some jokes may go right over the heads of the younger readers, but if parents choose this story as a read-a-loud title, they'll enjoy them. There's also a fair amount of gross humor sure to delight young readers as much as it bothered this reader. It's a quick tale with familiar, but important, themes. It's not a revolutionary Lowry book, but it is a good one, and it's sure to be a winner with young readers if not literary award panels.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Release date: April 12, 2010
Source: I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of review. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin!