cover image Nana's Birthday Party

Nana's Birthday Party

Amy Hest. HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07497-5

Hest and Schwartz, whose past collaborations include The Purple Coat and Fancy Aunt Jess , here present the endearing tale of two cousins preparing for the birthday party their grandmother throws for herself every year. Maggie and Brette spend the night before the fete at Nana's Manhattan apartment, which Schwartz creatively decorates with a dazzling panoply of intricately patterned fabrics, wall coverings and rugs. After the dynamic Nana hangs streamers from the ceiling, she and her granddaughters curl up on the couch to look at old family photos, each of which, says Nana, ``tells a story.'' And then, rather than make individual presents that compete for Nana's attention, the cousins share their particular talents and make a special joint gift. Hest peppers her narrative with inviting particulars, including the ``birthday rules'' Nana tacks on her door. Equally entertaining are Schwartz's vividly detailed pictures, which capture the distinct personalities of the two girls. One quibble: after all the anticipation and buildup (not to mention the title), youngsters may be disappointed when the story ends before Nana's party. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)