Nana's Birthday Party

Nana's Birthday Party

by Amy Hest, Amy Schwartz
     
 

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Every year, Nana throws herself a grand birthday party, with relatives from all over the city and her special birthday rules tacked to the door: NO JEANS, NO Gum, and NO PRESENTS, EXCEPT THE KIND YOU MAKE YOURSELF. Best of all, Maggie and her cousin Brette have a sleepover at Nana's the night before.

This year, Maggie is determined to make something special

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Overview

Every year, Nana throws herself a grand birthday party, with relatives from all over the city and her special birthday rules tacked to the door: NO JEANS, NO Gum, and NO PRESENTS, EXCEPT THE KIND YOU MAKE YOURSELF. Best of all, Maggie and her cousin Brette have a sleepover at Nana's the night before.

This year, Maggie is determined to make something special for Nana — far more special, she hopes, than Brette's gorgeous paintings, the ones that hang in real frames over Nana's fireplace.

Amy Hest and Amy Schwartz are the author and illustrator of The Crackof-Dawn Walkers, The Purple Coat, and Fancy Aunt Jess — warm and funny stories about families. In their latest collaboration, readers will meet two spirited cousins and their irrepressible grandmother on the eve of the most memorable birthday party ever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Nana throws herself a birthday party, and her two granddaughters, Maggie and Brette, always spend the night before the event at her grand Manhattan apartment. Besides helping to bake a cake, decorate the spacious living room with streamers and balloons, and looking at old photos, the girls agonize over their special gifts for their grandmother, gifts that she insists must be handmade. Maggie, the narrator, is a writer; Brette is a painter. Both feel that the other gives better gifts. The story comes to a smooth and logical conclusion when the children collaborate on a book inspired by one of Nana's black-and-white photographs. A solid, old-fashioned sense of family is captured in the text. The colorful precision of Schwartz's detailed drawings adds life and vigor to each scene. The elderly woman's character is revealed through the lively abstract and floral patterns that dominate her apartment. This book, with its emphasis on happy, creative, homespun experiences, will strike a chord in many readers young and old.-Martha Topol, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI
Stephanie Zvirin
Like "Fancy Aunt Jess" (1990), Hest's latest picture-book story, a charming portrayal of family relationships, seems so genuine it might have grown from one of the author's own treasured memories. Every year Maggie's lively grandma (who brooks no nonsense and accepts only homemade presents) throws herself a grand birthday celebration. Maggie looks forward to helping her get the house ready for the guests and to sleeping over with her cousin, Brette, and learning about her mother and aunt as children. This year, Maggie wants to write Nana a birthday story. Unfortunately, she has no idea what to write about, and she worries that Brette's present--sure to be a painting because Brette has brought along her paints and easel--will be better than hers. "If I could paint the way she does . . ." mourns Maggie, a bit jealous and somewhat in awe of her cousin's talent. But Nana sets her straight, reminding her that "every picture tells a story." Taking Grandma's words to heart, Maggie and Brette celebrate their own special abilities and together create the perfect gift. Schwartz's fluid yet exuberant watercolors perfectly capture the cousins--as friends and as competitors--in all their differences and make a beautiful show of Nana's cozy apartment, busy with color and pattern and with "floors so shiny you can glide like a skater when you're wearing just socks." A warm, wise story about cousins that captures continuity and affection across generations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688074975
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/1993
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Lexile:
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

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