Onstage & Backstage: At the Night Owl Theater

Ann Hayes, Author, Karmen Thompson, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $15 (36p) ISBN 978-0-15-200782-9
To favorable reviews, the collaborators on Meet the Orchestra introduce youngsters to the world of live theater. Despite the fact that her images are occasionally stiff or blurry, Thompson's watercolors effectively animate the festively clad cast and crew of Cinderella, which gets underway as a menagerie of animals auditions for parts in the play. Hayes then ushers readers through rehearsals, set design and construction, costume selection, prop-making, a mishap-wracked dress rehearsal and, finally, the triumphant opening night. Children then have a front-row seat for the show as they part a double-spread gatefold curtain and see four scenes spotlighted from the play. The author smoothly incorporates theatrical terms and jargon into her narrative, and introduces children to every aspect of playmaking. At times, several animals are pictured and none is clearly identified, so it's difficult to discern who is performing which role (with the exception of the director and stage manager). But whether children are aspiring thespians or involved in a class play, they'll appreciate this behind-the-scenes look at the theater. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Children's
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