The Birthday Invitation, a delightful picture book from Lucy Rowland and Laura Hughes, takes its readers on a wonderful and unexpected journey. It all begins with a birthday invitation.
Ella’s birthday party is tomorrow. She diligently writes her invitations for a special birthday tea, then heads off to deliver them.
As she rushes through the wood, unbeknownst to Ella, one of the invitations floats out of her bag, and lands next to the toadstools. In a brilliant twist, it is promptly picked up by a… wizard. This long bearded gentleman is very excited by the invitation. But. Drops it again. Who will find it next?
I love how Rowland ensures this invitation goes on quite a journey, ending up in the hands of an eclectic mix of characters – and they can all make it to Ella’s birthday! Every single one. The recap at the end, as they piece together what happened is a lovely, fun touch as little readers get to retrace the journey thanks to Laura Hughes’s illustrations.
Hughes’s soft, intricate illustrations are the perfect match as they whisk the reader away on the invitation’s journey, bringing each character to life. The double page spread depicting the ‘very lively crowd’ standing on Ella’s doorsteps is one of my favourites.
Rowland’s command of rhyme and rhythm makes The Birthday Invitation an inviting (yep!) tale to read out loud.