Dean Pitchford has already enjoyed the kind of success about which most people can only dream. He’s been a Broadway star, a hugely successful songwriter, and has been nominated for four Grammys, two Tonys and four Academy Awards, winning Best Original Song for “Fame.” Now, with the release of his new Young Adult title, The Big One-Oh, Pitchford can also call himself a novelist.
When Charley Maplewood realizes that he’s had the last of his single-digit birthdays and that “the big one-oh” is staring him in the face, he knows that he has to do something special to mark the occasion. Unfortunately for Charley, there are a few things standing in the way of his plans to throw the mother of all parties for himself and his friends. For one thing he has no friends. For another, he is still haunted by his memories of how he single-handedly destroyed the last birthday party he attended when the sleepy pony he was riding suddenly decided that it preferred the role of out-of-control race horse to that of party pony.
The Big One-Oh is filled with characters that most of us will recognize from our own elementary school days: the class bully and his weaker sidekick, the already-most-popular girls who will remain most popular all the way through high school, the class geek, the class politician, and the rest of the herd. Charley deals with all of them as he arranges his party and, although he didn’t plan it quite that way, they all show up on the big day.
The Big One-Oh will have its young readers laughing out loud as Charley bonds with the strange man next door whom his mother forbids him to see, almost burns down his garage, and watches in shock as police cars and ambulances show up during the best part of his party. Charley Maplewood had the kind of tenth-birthday party that most boys wish for themselves. Luckily for their parents, they don’t usually get their wish. So, parents, hand them a copy of The Big One-Oh, instead, and let them think “what if.”