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Written by:  Carol McGarrahan, Associate Editor, Carolina Parent
Date: May 1, 2010

Comedian Robin Williams said, "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" The following books set a playful tone for Mother's Day and other special events for families, such as birthdays. Make the most of festive opportunities that come your way this spring. And if a special day isn't already on the agenda, you can always pick up (or bake) some cupcakes and invent one!

Pantaloon (Random House, $17.99) is a newly illustrated and released remake of a Golden Book classic about a pooch with a sweet tooth. Pantaloon wants to work in a local bakery as the delivery dog, but first he has to prove he is trustworthy. Written by Kathryn Jackson and illustrated by Steven Salerno. Ages 2-5.

In this reversal of the classic bedtime routine, a little girl puts Mommy (and then Daddy) to bed. Bedtime for Mommy (Bloomsbury, $16.99) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Leuyen Pham, is full of laughs and humor about this daily parent-child routine. A great selection to lighten the mood at bedtime. Ages 3-5.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? (Random House, $8.99) with this party edition of the classic comic story of a baby bird in search of his mother. This easy-to-read ode to babies and moms is a perfect Mother's Day gift. Ages 4-8.

The newly released rhyming book Party Animals (Running Press Kids, $17.99) by talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford is the story of the problems Lucy Goosy encounters while planning a guest list for her birthday party. She wants the party to be just right and is afraid her friends' quirky qualities may ruin the festivities. The book includes a sing-along CD. Young children. (No ages specified.)

A Mother's Song (Sterling, $14.95) by Janet Lawler, illustrated by Kathleen Kemly, is an endearing rhyming book about a young girl and her mother spending time together. The mother-daughter duo discovers one miracle of nature after another as they enjoy everything from listening to birds to making angels in the snow. A wonderful celebration of the bond between mothers and children. Ages 4-8.

Give preteens the book that shares everything a girl needs to know about parties — from giving them to throwing them. With A Smart Girl's Guide to Parties (American Girl, $9.95), young girls can test their party know-how with fun quizzes and find easy-to-make gift ideas. Offers advice from real girls about how to handle all types of party situations, including what to do when you're not invited. Ages 8-12.

Rory Swenson has been waiting to turn 12 her whole life because then she gets to pierce her ears, go to the mall with friends, get a cell phone and babysit. In Finally (Scholastic, $16.99), author Wendy Mass appeals to the need for youth to start experiencing more freedom and independence and includes the mishaps that can occur as those freedoms are exercised. A fast and fun read. Ages 8-12.



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