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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Princess Alyssa's Big Birthday Party is a children’s picture book written by Janice Blue Washington and illustrated by Justin Ransburg and Krystal “Gem” Jackson. Princess Alyssa just couldn’t understand why her big sister, Princess Jamya, wasn’t as excited as she was. It was finally her birthday! Her sister looked angry and out of sorts as Alyssa jumped up and down on her bed. "Go back to sleep," Jamya told her. "It’s not your birthday yet." And though indeed the clock showed that Princess Alyssa’s birthday had already begun, it was still dark outside, and neither of her sisters was willing to begin the big day early. Princess Alyssa herself gave in to the temptation of a few more hours of sleep and almost missed out on her big birthday gala. She quickly dressed in her pink and purple gown and descended the palace’s grand stairway. All her friends were there, waiting to celebrate her birthday, and there was so much more -- giraffes, elephants, street performers, and the largest cake Princess Alyssa had ever seen. It was indeed a big birthday party and it was all for her.
Janice Blue Washington’s Princess Alyssa's Big Birthday Party is a fanciful and fun look at a regal and truly fit-for-a-princess party. The opening pages of the story reminded me of children’s impatience for Christmas to finally start as the excited young princess tries to get her sisters in the celebratory mood while they still would much rather be asleep. I especially appreciated the abrupt turn-around as Princess Jamya gets to wake up her sister, whose earlier impatience left her exhausted and still asleep. Washington’s book is a grand selection for storytime, but it’s also written at a level that will make it a favorite with young readers, who are eager to try reading on their own. Ransburg and Jackson’s bold and brightly colored illustrations make Princess Alyssa’s party feel real, and each panel is loaded with details for kids to pore over and enjoy. Princess Alyssa's Big Birthday Party is highly recommended.