Mary Beth (43?) is given a surprise birthday party by her friends in this photo story in sign language and words. Funny, joyful photos of Mary Beth and friends mugging it up should appeal to deaf and hearing children alike. The reader-viewer is challenged to use all sorts of visual cues to read the story in clips of hands, faces, and fingers in blurred motion. The whole is most successful in conveying the sense of sign as a vital, expressive, and often personal language. Mary Beth invites her guests in and proceeds to guess what's inside her presents. Small photos show Mary Beth guessing in sign, mime and with words, and her guests signing ""no"" and urging her to open each gift. Her guests, both sexes, many ages and ethnicities, ""sing"" Happy Birthday in sign and words. Mary Beth blows out her candles and makes a birthday wish ""to fly,"" and there she is in pink robe and bunny slippers, flying over the heads of her guests. A final appendix shows hand signs for numbers 1 to 20 and selected symbols for 100 and 1000. Since signs are hands and fingers in position and motion, it is not always easy to read signs from still photos, which can only express motion by blurring the image. Children will enjoy puzzling out the signs from the clues given. Should have wide appeal.