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The Birthday Ball

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  860 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her royal life and the excitement surrounding her sixteenth birthday ball. Doomed to endure courtship by three grotesquely unappealing noblemen, she escapes her fate—for a week. Disguised as a peasant, she attends the village school as the smart new girl, “Pat,” and attracts friends and the attention of the handsome schoolmaster. D ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Newbery 2011
70th out of 136 books — 540 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,674)
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Lisa Vegan
May 23, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers 7 up to adult who appreciate humorous & sweet fairy tale novels
I’ve enjoyed many of Lois Lowry's books and have been enchanted by Jules Feiffer's drawings, so these two pairing up was exciting for me; I was eagerly anticipating this book. Lowry is so eclectic in the types of books she writes.

So, I found this young reader novel length fairy tale to be amusing and sweet and although not a very original story, it had some unique touches. It was predictable but more than adequately entertaining. And, while the ending was certainly not in question, the exact mea
Princess Patricia Priscilla is BORED! It's hard to decide which is worse, having so very little to do at present or knowing that in just a few days her 16th birthday will arrive, bringing with it the Birthday Ball and her suitors, a change but not exactly a welcome one. The princess decides to borrow her maid's clothing and escape into the peasant world for a little while to attend class at the school house for a few days. There, she meets the kindly (no matter how stern he tries to make himself ...more
Laurie Gray
May 12, 2012 Laurie Gray rated it it was amazing
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry is a lighthearted fairy tale, designed for pure entertainment. About to turn sixteen, Princess Patricia Priscilla must select a husband from the most dreadful assembly of suitors. The princess disguises herself as a peasant girl named “Pat” (because all peasants must have short names) and attends several days of school in the village. With her goes her cat named Delicious, who is always vicious, malicious, avaricious, suspicious, or at the very least in need of so ...more
Amanda Valentine
May 04, 2012 Amanda Valentine rated it liked it
The Birthday Ball is a cute farce of a fairy tale, with sketches by Jules Feiffer (you may recognize his distinctive style from The Phantom Tollbooth) throughout. It’s patently ridiculous, with exaggerated characters—there’s no attempt at realism. Although in most ways it’s a fairly standard princess-story setting, there are throw away lines about spandex and plastic, and the names of all the kingdoms are based on unpleasant medical conditions, so you can’t even quite make solid assumptions abou ...more
Ardea Smith
Sep 07, 2013 Ardea Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-log
Title / Author / Publication Date: The Birthday Ball/Lois Lowry/2010

Genre: Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Plot summary: Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her royal life and the excitement surrounding her sixteenth birthday ball. Doomed to endure courtship by three grotesquely unappealing noblemen, she escapes her fate—for a week. Disguised as a peasant, she attends the village school as the smart new girl, "Pat” and attracts friends and the attention of the handsome schoolmaster. Disgusting sui
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2010 Rebecca rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed by this book. Lois Lowry is such a great author, but this book was a jumbled mess. The story had such great potential and may have been much better had it been fleshed out instead of these few pages.

I think she may have been going for a Miyazaki approach to character and plot development, but it just didn't work. There was only one character who I was emotionally invested in and she was a minor minor character.

Also, I don't understand why some authors feel the need to
Marjorie Ingall
Jun 09, 2010 Marjorie Ingall rated it liked it
Meh. Am I holding this to too high a standard because it's Lois Lowry? Probably. LOIS LOWRY, people! The Giver and Number the Stars are BOTH on my "10 best middle grade novels of all time" list! So I am sad to report that I found The Birthday Ball formulaic and tired -- perfectly pleasant, utterly forgettable. Lowry had to be sleepwalking (sleepwriting?). Nothing feels new or witty (though there are some scatological jokes my kids found high-larious...and I love a good testicles joke as much as ...more
Destinee Sutton
Obviously, I'm going to like this. It's a fun, funny, totally enjoyable, quick-read about a princess who sneaks out of her castle to go to school, invites all the peasants to her birthday ball, and finds a way to get out of marrying one of three (or four, technically) nasty (really gross-nasty) suitors.

My favorite parts:

1. So many things rhyme with delicious!
2. The norphan
3. The disgusting Duke of Dyspepsia, Prince of Pustula, and Conjoint Counts
4. An overall satisfying mixture of cute and gro
May 06, 2016 Linnae rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile, clean-reads
Princess Patricia Priscilla is turning 16 soon and is completely, utterly bored with her life. So she switches clothes with her maid and attends the village school for a few days, as "Pat." Delicious, her cat, comes along. Meanwhile, her 3 awful suitors (from whom she is supposed to choose a husband at her Birthday Ball) also prepare to win her. The schoolmaster happens to be quite handsome, despite his attempts to be stern. Something must be done, but Princess Patricia doesn't really see a way ...more
Megan Wing
Mar 01, 2015 Megan Wing rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-5-literature
FANTASY: The Birthday Ball

A spoiled princess decides to swap her royal lifestyle for the poor peasant lifestyle days before her sixteenth birthday in “The Birthday Ball.” As decree of the Law of the Domain the princess must pick a suitor on this day and her choices are atrocious. Between constantly bickering conjoined twins, a warthog- like duke and a dandruff covered prince, Princess Patricia Priscilla is dreading her decision so she flees to the village to go to the local school. There she mee
Oct 17, 2014 Cathy rated it really liked it
Every day is the same and Princess Priscilla is bored. In less than a week she will be sixteen and at her birthday ball she must choose a husband from a group of ghastly suitors. As a diversion, with the help of her chambermaid, she disguises herself as a poor, humble peasant, slips away from the castle, and walks, barefoot, to the village school where she enrolls as a new student.

Meanwhile, the castle staff is frantically preparing for the ball and noble guests are traveling to the kingdom to a
Kelsie Beaudoin (The Bookworm)
Apr 28, 2014 Kelsie Beaudoin (The Bookworm) rated it really liked it

Let me preface this post by first saying that there are elementary books, and there are elementary books. Bookworm…what the heck does that even mean?

Well, I shall explain. There are books that belong in the same section meant for kids of elementary grade school- in my favorite local library it is called Juvenile Fiction. However, there are two kinds of books on these shelves. There are books like Joseph Delaney’s Spook series which are targeted toward that age group but still have developed cha

Grady McCallie
Mar 16, 2014 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it
A sympathetic but bored princess is approaching her 16th birthday, at which point, under the traditions of the kingdom, she'll have to marry one of three appalling suitors (or four, depending on how you count). To distract herself from this unhappy future and stave off boredom, she goes slumming incognito. The illustrations by Jules Feiffer are splendid caricatures, and fit the tone of the book perfectly.

I read this short novel aloud at bedtime to my 4 1/2 year old daughter, who got the elements
Apr 15, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: CapCh 7-10
Lois Lowry must have had a "ball" writing this light, charming story. Her word play makes it especially delightful. The many rhymes Princess Patricia Priscilla makes when addressing her cat Delicious ("...nutritious, Delicious," "...surreptitious, Delicious," "...malicious, Delicious") add an extra layer of fun.
Kaitlin Burke
Apr 30, 2015 Kaitlin Burke rated it really liked it
Lois Lowry's The Birthday Ball is a totally enjoyable and fun read for anyone. This easy to read picture book is about a princess who decides to sneak out of the castle in order to go to school and live as a peasant for a week. All of her new peasant friends are invited to her 16th birthday ball and she is able to figure out a way to not marry one of the gross suitors.Obviously, I'm going to like this. It was a delightful read! The illustration are fitting for the book and are very pretty. The m ...more
Elsa Bray
Feb 22, 2015 Elsa Bray rated it liked it
I chose to read this book with one of my friends. The back of the book said little about it but we thought it would be a fun, quick book to read together.It was an interesting story and entertaining although it is a very short read. Those of you who are really not into reading fantasy, princessey, fairytailish type stuff then this is not the book for you.Of course it was about a princess and I don't want to spoil it but it was something about suitors for the princess (all very gruesome and gree ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Gabby rated it it was amazing
Patricia Priscilla is very bored with her royal life and the excitement of her upcoming sixteenth birthday, the day she is to be married. She knows she must choose one of three repulsive, immensely wealthy suitors. So she decides to disguise as a villager named Pat to escape her fate. In the village, she meets the young schoolmaster and becomes friends with a little girl named Liz. She is only able to go to the schoolhouse for one week because of her birthday ball, which is scheduled for Saturda ...more
Sep 19, 2012 Sophia rated it it was amazing
aww... used to love this book! read it in 2nd or third grade!
Feb 04, 2016 Salsabrarian rated it really liked it
Narrated by Elissa Steele. Steele gives a soaring and animated interpretation of a princess story with an independent streak. Princess Pat conducts a fairly routine, if posh life in the castle. She is inspired by her serving maid to pretend she is poor and attend the village school and rub elbows with the peasants. It's all a delightful slumming experience for the princess but it comes to an end when she must pick from among three dreadful suitors on her 16th birthday. Lots of out-loud laughs; a ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Janssen rated it liked it
Shelves: children, arc, 2010
Cute, but I'd hoped for a little more.
Jun 22, 2011 Josiah rated it it was ok
This is a refreshing, well-told story, and I would definitely give it two and a half stars. I considered for a while rounding that rating up to three stars, in fact.

With The Birthday Ball, I find myself impressed once again by the diversity of Lois Lowry's writing talent. She is equally at home penning tales of zany buffoonery or deeply wrenching pathos, in books as totally opposite in style as The Birthday Ball and Number the Stars. Despite the fact that she has been writing for many decades,
Robyn Hawk
Mar 26, 2010 Robyn Hawk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
This is NOT the Lois Lowry of The Giver!!! In this light hearted romp, Lowry gives a modern twist to the classic role reversal fairy tales. Though the lessons learned are just as deep as any presented in The Giver, she gets you there in a laugh-out-loud story of self discovery.

With her sixteen birthday quickly approaching the beautiful and bored Princess Patricia Priscilla is lamenting her lot in life. Faced with a big decision...on her sixteenth she must choose a husband...the Princess changes
Sarah BT
Mar 23, 2010 Sarah BT rated it it was amazing
About the Book: It's almost the day of Princess Patricia Priscilla's sixteenth birthday ball-the day the Princess will be asked to choose a suitor. But the princess is bored. So she decides to disguise herself as a peasant and go to school for the week. Princess Patricia Priscilla loves school and she's not looking forward to her birthday ball-especially when she finds out who the suitors will be! Will Princess Patricia Priscilla find a way to end her boredom and marry a man she loves?

The Rusty Key
Oct 26, 2010 The Rusty Key rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen
Recommended For: Girls, ages seven and up. This book is smarter and more substantial than you might initially think based on the cover, so if you’re looking for straight fluff, look elsewhere.

One Word Summary: Expert.

At an event at Books of Wonder in New York City, Lois Lowry said that in writing The Birthday Ball she was just looking to have a little fun. Fun she had indeed, but make no mistake, this not a syrupy work of triviality: it’s no less t
Jan 02, 2011 Erica rated it really liked it
Book Talk: Princess Patricia Priscilla is not looking forward to her sixteenth birthday ball. At it she will have to decide who to marry and each of her suitors is more repulsive than the next: Duke Desmond of Dyspepsia who is as ugly and irritable as a warthog and forbids all mirrors in his kingdom, Prince Percival of Pustula who has altogether too many mirrors and a heart as black as his oily hair, and the Conjoint Counts Colin and Cuthbert who never have enough time to care about something li ...more
Girls Gone Reading
Jun 09, 2010 Girls Gone Reading rated it really liked it
Lois Lowry is best known for her book The Giver-a dystopian YA novel about the roles we give each other and the complexities of human interaction. The Birthday Ball is nothing like The Giver.

Luckily, I agreed to review this novel because I was looking for a quick escape. Well…I not only got a good, fun read, but Lois Lowry took everything that I thought I knew about her writing style and changed it. For The Birthday Ball Lowry added numerous tricks to her resume. She added images to her story-sc
Nov 12, 2012 kyendwarrior rated it liked it
May contain minor spoilers

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I love this book! It was a quick and easy read, but it had a whole bunch of SAT words scattered in it, especially when Princess Pat talked to her cat (who knew there were so many words that rhymed with Delicious?).

The plot was generally predictable, but it was a sweet story and has your typical fairytale feel to it. It was mostly about Princess Pat and her search for adventure in a schoolhouse, but Lois also gave the other m
Jun 13, 2012 Shel rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Lowry, L. (2010). The Birthday Ball. New York: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

186 pages.

I first heard about this book through some positive reviews from some teachers that I knew. But the thing was, all the teachers would say was, "The Birthday Ball is fun!" or "The Birthday Ball is cute!" And that's it. All of them. Only those words. They wouldn't even describe the plot of the book. Just say that it was cute.

I started to think it was some kind of conspiracy. Why wouldn't anyone say more?

Aug 31, 2010 Beverly rated it really liked it
The Birthday Ball is a quirky little story by Lois Lowry. It is very different from her Newbery winning books (The Giver and Number the Stars), but it is an enjoyable in its own right.

Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with being a princess. Ignored by her parents, faced with the dreaded birthday ball where she must choose a suitor from among three horrible prospects, she goes seeking excitement on her own by pretending to be a peasant school girl. Disguised as "Pat" she soon makes friends wit
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Reading log 5 1 2 Jan 09, 2012 05:18AM  
  • The Night Fairy
  • The Very Little Princess
  • Leaving the Bellweathers
  • Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus ...
  • Kid vs. Squid
  • Secrets at Sea
  • Mimi's Dada Catifesto
  • Diary of a Fairy Godmother
  • Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains
  • Snake and Lizard
  • Falling In
  • Keeper
  • The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True (Knights' Tales, #3)
  • Bobby The Brave (Sometimes)
  • Emmaline and the Bunny
  • Clementine, Friend of the Week (Clementine, #4)
  • Wishing Moon
  • The Castle Corona
Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always
More about Lois Lowry...

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