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Catalog » Browse by Title: P » Party: A Mystery

Party: A Mystery

By: and

A beautifully illustrated story of three girls caught up in the most curious of mysteries.

*While supplies last, books ordered through the website will be SIGNED by Ricardo Cortés.

$17.95 $13.46

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Seeing the story illustrated with artwork by Ricardo Cortés gives it new life, and gives readers a whole new way of being drawn in. Kincaid and Cortés also capture the kind of wonder that children see new experiences through, making this adventure a particularly heartwarming read.”

Party has layers. It functions as a subtle message about what it means to witness horror to such a degree that we lose our language for it; it is a quiet story about coming of age, suddenly, as a young black girl because of what the world shows us. It is about the many words our silence can hold, the way our absences can ring as loudly and discordantly as the words we do feel able to say.”
Literary Hub

“The book’s effervescent pictures, and its playful, secretive ending, will have young readers paging through it again and again, constructing stories and observations of their own. Party: A Mystery is an ideal gift for young readers. The book will put kids’s curiosity to work during a busy holiday season.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

“Kincaid believes that, in illustrating Party, Cortés only enhanced the story’s enigma, providing a greater sense of intrigue and playfulness likely to appeal to young readers.”
Publishers Weekly, from a Miami Book Fair 2019 feature

“Each girl is so unique and amiable that readers will be drawn into the mystery before they know it, desperately searching for clues. Cortés’s expressive paintings help to show the characters’ personalities and the setting, providing some hidden hints to readers . . . A charming book about character and suspense that will be intriguing to many young mystery readers.”
School Library Journal

“This story by acclaimed author Kincaid gets new life in this picture book with lush, glowingly realistic illustrations . . . The artwork is gorgeous and the feeling of being a kid who’s a little too short to see what’s happening will likely resonate with the target audience.”

“This send-up of the Nancy Drew mysteries by Kincaid first appeared as a 1980 New Yorker story about a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first book’s publication. Here, Kincaid’s piece is recast as a picture book with dramatic artwork by Cortés. . . Detailed, almost photographically realistic portraits of girls and partygoers by Cortés, shown against marble architectural backdrops that suggest the New York Public Library, engage throughout . . . A gem.”
Publishers Weekly

“A beautifully drawn picture book adventure story that promises questions that will grab children ages 3-7—but does not guarantee an answer! Unique, uncommon, entertaining, and thoroughly ‘kid friendly,’ Party: A Mystery is extraordinary and highly recommended.”
Midwest Book Review

“The illustrations and realism make Party a satisfying read that will resonate with younger siblings (or anyone who has experienced the frustration of ignorance). Two other aspects of Party enhance what is already a thoroughly satisfying book: the ending and the fact that the party is in celebration of Nancy Drew.”
Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk

“I loved Party. It’s a beautiful book right in the tradition of Ezra Jack Keats.”
—Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Marvel’s Black Panther

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Spring 2019 Children’s Announcements

Included in Booklist‘s Spring Youth Preview 2019

Included in Publishers Weekly‘s Spring 2019 Children’s Sneak Previews!



Interest level: 3 | Grade level: 3 | Lexile Level: 680L | Guided Reading Level/F&P: N

Learn more about Party: A Mystery at partyamystery.com.

Three girls—Pam, Bess, and Sue—attend a party to celebrate the publication of the first of the Nancy Drew mystery books. There are many distractions at the fancy affair: flower arrangements, partygoers, refreshments, and lots and lots of marble. Suddenly, the oldest girl, Pam, sees what can only be described as something truly . . . bilious . . . not good! Bess sees it too. The youngest, Sue, does not, and as usual she has a hard time getting anyone to tell her anything. Party: A Mystery is a beautifully drawn adventure story that promises questions that will grab children, but does not guarantee an answer.

Read an interview with Ricardo Cortés at Let’s Talk Picture Books.

Listen to/read interviews with Jamaica Kincaid and Ricardo Cortés at Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.

Read a feature on Party: A Mystery by Gabrielle Bellot at Literary Hub.

Listen to an interview with Ricardo Cortés at The Children’s Book Podcast:

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Published: 6/4/19
  • IBSN: 9781617757167
  • e-IBSN: 9781617757280


JAMAICA KINCAID is a writer and professor whose works include the novels Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter; a classic history of Antigua, A Small Place; and a memoir, My Brother. The Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University, Kincaid was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004. Her latest work is Party: A Mystery.

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RICARDO CORTÉS is the #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator of Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, and Party: A Mystery, by the acclaimed author Jamaica Kincaid. Cortés has written and illustrated books including Sea Creatures from the Sky and A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and on CNN, Fox News, and the Late Show with David Letterman. You can see his work at Rmcortes.com, or on Twitter and Instagram at @Rmcortes. His latest work is the updated edition of It’s Just a Plant.

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