cover image Doll Face Has a Party!

Doll Face Has a Party!

Pam Conrad. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024262-6

Doll Face decides to throw a party for her friends, a party ``with music and dancing and Sweet Cake.'' In excitement she sets the table, instructing Plate to be still, Fork to be straight, Cup to stay empty, Spoon to stir the tea, Knife to cut Sweet Cake and Teapot to keep the tea hot. Then she heads off with Balloon and Chair in search of music and Sweet Cake. These missions accomplished, all she needs are her party guests--but to the reader's surprise they are already there! In his first picture book, Selznick ( The Houdini Box ) complements Conrad's ( The Tub People ) unusual tale with startling artwork that emphasizes odd angles and disproportionate sizes. Doll Face, in snazzy rose-colored party clothes and with hair like pink spaghetti strands, roams waiflike through a forest of shag carpet and table legs. Luminescent colors and baroque wallpaper backdrops deepen the sense of fantasy, of having stumbled upon a dreamscape. This is a clever picture book, a distant relative of Alice in Wonderland , but ultimately there is something sad and unsettling about the wooden doll who throws a party for herself. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)