cover image Staying Nine

Staying Nine

Pam Conrad. HarperCollins Publishers, $13.95 (70pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021319-0

Heather is perfectly happy being nineit's been her best year everand she doesn't want to turn 10. As if to prove her point, she insists on wearing the same clothes in the class picture as she did the year before. But by the end of the day, she is hot, cross and itchy because the clothes are too small. As her birthday draws near, Heather announces that she does not want a party, or cake, or presentsno fuss. Despite Heather's wishes, her mom decides to have a party anyway; there Heather discovers the advantages of growing older. An accomplished and versatile writer, Conrad ( Prairie Songs , Taking the Ferry Home ) has written about an independent and spunky heroine. If the theme is age-old, Conrad's handling of it is fresh andas alwayssurprising. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (Nov.)