In a celebration of neighbors and diversity, an open-ended party invitation results in a raucous gathering of children, pets and parents (plus salsa dancers and a reggae band!), all feasting on food from all over the world. Couscous, crepes, salad, ackee--there isn't enough room on the table for all the food. And it's noisy too, because people don't stop talking while they eat and dance. The party might have gotten out of hand a bit, but nobody minds--after all, it is the craziest, wildest, funnest party ever!
Everyone loves a party, and with its vivid illustrations and irresistibly playful text, this picture book delivers the rowdiest, happiest birthday party ever.
The novel opens when Bento is wrongly thrown into Lisbon’s prison by the king’s guards, leaving his younger sibling, Manu, to fend for himself. Fortunately, a nobleman’s family helps to reunite the siblings — although they will have to lead a life of exile in Brazil. They keep secret the fact that Manu is a girl in disguise so that she will be able to accompany her brother aboard ship.
The story shifts to the African savannah, where a young boy, Odjigi, is hunting gazelle with his father and other men. But the hunters soon become the hunted — they are kidnapped by slave traders, as are the women and children of the village, marched to the sea, shut up in dark, airless huts to prepare for the voyage across the Atlantic, and then undergo the horrifying trip itself.
In Brazil, the siblings quickly adapt to their new lives, but they are shocked by the existence and treatment of African slaves. Manu befriends an aboriginal boy, Caiubi, and a slave, Didi, who has been separated from his father. Meanwhile Bento falls in love with Rosa, a beautiful young slave who is also searching for her family. When Manu learns from Caiubi that escaped slaves have formed quilombos — villages hidden deep in the forest where they live in freedom — she is determined that they must help Didi and Rosa escape.