Idea No.


Book Party -7yr- Open Book Cake



July 2006


Allison in Shreveport, Louisiana

Special Mention

Book Reading Party

Our daughter absolutely loves to read, so we decided to do a books theme for her 7 year old birthday party. 

For invitations, we used pretty scrapbook paper that she picked out cut and folded to make the cover of a book, and we inserted a couple of pages of folded plain white paper and tied them with yarn at the fold to make them look like a book.  On the cover it said, My Big Birthday Book Bash by Aubrey ___.  On the first page, it said Chapter 1Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Aubrey who loved books.  When she turned 7, she wanted all of her friends to celebrate with her at a Big Birthday Book Bash. She invited them to come to her house on Saturday, June 24 at 10:00 am and asked their parents to RSVP to her mom at (phone number). 

On the second page, it said, Chapter 2  During the days leading up to the party, Aubrey and her mom collected many of her favorite books to share with her friends, and planned some great games and activities to entertain them.  She enjoyed the phone calls from their parents telling which of them would be planning to attend the party.  On the next page, it said, Chapter 3Finally all of the preparations were complete, and the day of the party came.   The guests arrived and had lots of fun playing party games.  They sang the birthday song, ate cake and ice cream, and a good time was had by all.  When the party ended, Aubrey was sad to see her friends go, but they all lived happily ever after. On the last page, it said The End, and we placed a picture of her there.  On the back cover we printed, Please join us for Aubrey's Big Birthday Book Bash, and the party details.   

As the guests arrived we had a bookmark making station. We bought several colors of yarn and small plastic beads, and we had the girls make braided bookmarks with beaded tassles.  I thought that some of the younger girls might have some trouble with the braiding, so we had several already made and let the girls just put the beads on them.  Most of them were able to do the braiding, and for those who weren't, we had plenty of moms and grandmothers to help.  Some of the girls made several, and the activity kept most of them entertained for about a half-hour. 

As they finished the bookmarks, we let the girls play outside and in our playroom, where we had posted sheets of paper all along the wall for a Who am I? game.  Each sheet of paper had three clues about a character in a book that I thought would be recognizable to most of the children.  For example:  I am a little monkey; my best friend wears a yellow hat; I don't mean to cause trouble, but I am very curious Who am I?  (Curious George, of course).  I used mostly simple storybook characters or characters from books with which I thought they would be very familiar.  I had thought about giving a prize for the child who guessed the most characters, but decided to just let them have fun talking about them together.  They seemed to really enjoy talking about the characters.   

After most of the girls had had a chance to guess most of the characters, I gathered them all into our living room and took down all of the who am I? signs.  I read them, and the girls all yelled out the answers together.  Then I read a chapter from one of mine and my daughter's favorite books we have read together Because of Winn Dixie.  It was a relatively short chapter, but action-packed and humorous.  I chose the chapter about the dog howling and then chasing a rat during a church service.  I hoped that it would catch the girls attention enough to make them want to read the book for themselves.  Next we had a Treasure Hunt.  I quickly told the girls that books contained all sorts of treasures, and I had a list of treasures that I wanted them to look for in a collection of books that my daughter and I had put together and set out for the party.  We had checked out as many books as we could on her library card and mine and also included some of our books.  I carefully selected treasures that I knew could be found pretty easily in the specific books we had, and most of the treasures could be found in several of the books or very clearly in the titles of the books. 

I gave each girl a list of treasures to find.  Examples:  A pair of sisters, a school teacher, an animal who can talk, a book with exactly 10 chapters, a princess, a picture of a sweet treat to eat, a book you have read, a book you have not read but want to.  I gave them 15 minutes to search through the books and write down where they found as many treasures as they could.  I told the mothers to feel free to help, especially with some of the younger girls who were not good readers yet.  It was a bit chaotic, but they enjoyed it enough that I gave them 20 minutes. 

I had planned to give the winner a copy of Because of Winn Dixie as a prize, but I quickly saw that it would not be fair to do that since some girls had lots of help from their mothers and others had very little help.  It was way too close of a race, so I never said anything about the prize, and no one seemed to care that there was no prize.  I just told them to raise their hand if they had 5 treasures most did.  8 treasures many did.  10 treasures until we got to a few girls who had found 12-15.  After the treasure hunt, we had cake and ice cream. 

For the cake, Wilton makes a cake in the shape of an open book.  I baked the cake in that and put white icing on it.  I found a local grocery store that does cakes with a photograph printed on edible paper.  I asked if they would just print me a photo and sell it to me separately, and they did.  I printed out two pages on my computer.  One had the beginning of a story in a pretty font with a big, fancy first letter.  It said Once upon a time, not too long ago, in a land not so far away, there lived a young girl named Aubrey who loved books with a pretty border around the text. 

On the other page I printed a picture of Aubrey with a border and Happy Birthday Aubrey! Underneath.  I had them copy both pages onto the edible paper.  I placed the beginning of the story on the left side of the open book cake and the picture and Happy Birthday with the picture on the right side.  Then I decorated around the pages with a little bit of colored icing so that you couldn't see the edge of the paper on the cake, and I made a ribbon of icing down the middle to look like a bookmark.  It was surprisingly easy to do, and it looked great.  Everybody asked what bakery did it for me.  After cake and ice cream we opened gifts, and then it was time to go. 

For goody bags, we decorated brown paper bags and tied them with yarn.  Each bag contained a brand new book, a paper bookmark, and a few pieces of candy.  On the website for Dover Publishing, I found a selection of what they called children's thrift classics that were $1.50 each.  I got all sorts of books that I thought every little girl should read at some point The Secret Garden, Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, etc.  Most of them were abridged but still in chapter form and on a level that was pretty good for the girls we invited.  Even for the younger girls, I thought they would be good as read-aloud books with their parents.  I let Aubrey choose which girl received which book.  I thought that the books would make great party favors instead of a bag of candy and plastic junk toys that would get tossed into the trash can.   

I was a bit concerned that the party would seem a bit too much like school since we were sitting to read together and doing so much with books.  I realized that some of Aubrey's friends may not be quite is into books as she is, but the girls seemed to have a great time, and I think that the parents did too.  Most importantly, Aubrey told me that it was the most fun birthday party she had ever been to.  For me, it was great to do something that reflects her personality so well, and it was really easy to plan and inexpensive.

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