Posted in Animal Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade

Lulu the Broadway Mouse is ready for the Great White Way!

lulu the broadway mouseLulu the Broadway Mouse, by Jenna Gavigan,
(Oct. 2018, Running Press), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-7624-6461-6
Ages 8-12

Lulu is a little girl who loves, loves, LOVES the theatre. She lives in New York’s famed Schubert Theatre, where she and her family work side by side with the actors, actresses, and crew to help every production stay on track. Lulu dreams of being of making her Broadway debut, but there’s just one sticking point… Lulu is a mouse. When a young understudy named Jayne joins the cast of the Theatre’s current show, she and Lulu bond immediately over their love of the craft and their frustration with Amanda, the child star and resident mean girl. Will Lulu – and Jayne – ever get that big break?

Written by actress Jenna Gavigan, who made her Broadway debut at the age of 16, Lulu is a fun story that takes a look at dreaming big and navigating the mean girls we all meet in life. The novel also gives a wonderfully detailed peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of a stage show; your drama fans will love it and your animal fiction fans will cheer for Lulu, a lovable heroine who can stand up for herself and her friends.

Booktalk this one with Being Juliet by Joanne Stewart Wetzel for your drama fans who want a good story with a dash of theatre life.

Author Jenna Gavigan’s webpage has a page dedicated to Lulu, links to social media, and background information.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Intermediate

Claude and Mr. Bobblysock find their way to the Big Screen

Claude on the Big Screen, by Alex. T Smith, (Oct. 2017, Peachtree Publishers), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1-68263-009-9

Recommended for readers

Claude the Dog and his best friend, Mr. Bobblysock, are back for another adventure: this time, they wander onto a movie set, save the day by filling in for the two stars, and save a classically trained gorilla actor who’s afraid of heights! Written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith, the Claude series is a fun, early chapter book series that sports two-color illustrations and a quirky sense of style. The characters and writing are flamboyant fun, with exaggerated fonts, gigantic wigs, a gorilla in a smoking jacket, and a dog in a beret. It’s dry wit for the elementary school set.

There are seven Claude books out right now. Give these to your readers that appreciate humor with a twist. Introduce them in a read-aloud, letting kids hear the tongue-in-cheek manner of the narrative. Dress up socks and have the kids make berets – have fun with Claude!

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

A teaspoonful of drama queen: Dara Palmer’s Major Drama

dara palmerDara Palmer’s Major Drama, by Emma Shevah (July 2016, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $16.99, ISBN: 9781492631385

Recommended for ages 8-13

Dara Palmer was born to be a star: just ask her, she’ll tell you.  But when she’s passed over – once again – for a part in the school play, The Sound of Music, Dara wonders whether it’s because she looks different. Was she passed over to be Maria because she doesn’t look like a typical fraulein? It’s not, as she learns: she just can’t act. Or rather, she overacts. But this episode starts Dara thinking about her life: about being Cambodian, about being an adoptee, and about not seeing any actresses or models who look like her. And then, it hits her: she’s going to write a play about her own life. Because she has to be the star of that, right?

Emma Shevah nails it again. I loved her voice as Amber in Dream On, Amber; here, she captures another tween who’s facing some big issues: realizing the world doesn’t revolve around her, and feeling like one person “on the inside” while looking like a different person “on the outside”. As an adoptee, she wonders about her birth parents and the circumstances that led her to the Happy Family home where she ended up, ultimately being adopted by her British family. As she becomes more aware of who she is – beyond her daydreams of marrying her British actor crush – she notices that no one looks like her in Hollywood, or on the covers of magazines, and this motivates her to action. She also realizes what fair-weather friends are, and handles it with a minimum of angst, which is beautifully done.

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama has received a starred review from School Library Journal. Booktalk this with Shevah’s first book, Dream On, Amber, and  Nancy Cavanaugh’s Just Like Me.  A great add to reading lists and collections all around for its discussions about adoption, diversity, and ethnicity.