A door closes. A new door opens. Isn't that the way life goes? It's also exactly how the story of Alice Ann begins in the book Liberty Café Is Open. After a move to a new city and a new baby in the house, she's feeling a little lost in the shuffle. To make matters worse, she shares her birthday with a national holiday and longs to feel special. Everything changes with a surprise invitation to breakfast from Uncle Spurge! Miss Henny Penny's liberty bell rings and her red, white, and blue flag flutters in the wind outside Liberty Café. Everyone's inside waiting for Alice Ann and the big surprise!
Filled with bright and fun illustrations, this book is a delight to read. This is a really cute story, but it doesn't end there. You can have your own special red, white, and blue breakfast at home! The author has added several recipes in the back of the book, such as "Liberty Pancakes" and "Liberty Pie." There's even a game called "Breakfast Table" that you can play. The website is a wonderful addition, offering many extras. You'll find a script adapted from the story, party invitations and thank you notes, and a cartoon coloring book. You can sing, dance, act, and draw right along with the story! We also enjoyed the accompanying CD, which includes an oral reading of the story as well as the "Liberty Café Song." Whether you were born on the Fourth of July or not, you will enjoy your "star spangled" breakfast courtesy of Liberty Café!
If your children like The House That Jack Built, then they'll get
a kick out of Liberty Café Is Open! This 12 x 12-inch, 32-page
paperback picture book for ages 4-8 centers on the endearing rhyme and repetition
of classic jingles like The House that Jack Built or The Old Lady
Who Swallowed a Fly. Each page builds on the previous page, until the
lines are marching, flowing, and skipping across the illustrations . . . all
building up as the characters in the Liberty Café wait for Alice Ann.
They are planning her surprise birthday party and anxiously awaiting her arrival.
Little Alice Ann needs a surprise, for sure. She feels overlooked at home, what
with a recent move to a new house and a new baby joining the family. Her joy
at seeing a party just for her is clearly shown on her face. The illustrations
are bright, colorful cartoons. The text is done in a variety of fonts and colors--which
is great fun for most children. However, others might find the explosion of illustrations
mixed with colored, crazy fonts a little hard to read and stay focused on.
In addition to the bright drawings and fonts, each two-page spread includes a
small, black-and-white comic in the corner. I confess that I never quite figured
out the purpose for these. To me, they were just another drawing in an otherwise
full page of illustrations and dialogue clouds.
While I enjoyed the lilting text and fun pictures, I found I could not begin
reading the story from page one. It begins, "Ding, dong, Liberty Café is
open! Miss Henny Penny rings in the morning . . . ding dong . . . and everyone
is waiting for Alice Ann." However, we are not introduced to Alice Ann until
the end of the book, when she arrives for her party. As a reviewer, I usually
read everything before diving into the book. I learned about Alice Ann's story
problem by reading the black-and-white comics on the title spread (like reading
a cover flap). No mention of moving or new babies or Alice Ann feeling left out
ever comes out in the actual text.
In order to understand what is going on in the story, parents will want to talk
about Alice Ann and her problem before actually reading the story text. I found
the story a little confusing and could not find the tie-in with the title, either.
But the rhythm of the text is delightful.
In addition, Images Press has produced an animation of this story at http://www.images-press.com/animations/animationStart.php?movieID=libcafe.
Music, sound effects, and cheerful narration make the story a fun experience.