My children's birthday parties are events I anticipate with equal parts delirium and dread. With younger crowds, I often start by reading a book out loud. At my twin daughters' recent 5-year-old bash, for example, 11 of their friends raced into our family room on a late spring day that featured bone-chilling wind and snow flurries. In other words, a potentially hazardous situation: lots of energy combined with no outdoor games every mother's nightmare. Thankfully, the entire crowd sat with rapt attention for two picture books. What happened afterwards is another story. In any case, here are some excellent choices for your next fiesta.