Julia Marks, 11, is short for her age, doesn’t dance, can’t carry a tune like her brother Randy, and definitely doesn’t want to spend her summer acting in community theater. All of that changes when she and Randy are cast as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. The play forces Julia to challenge her perceptions of herself: being a dreamer isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and being short doesn’t mean one can’t do great things. It also allows her to engage with people she wouldn’t have otherwise met, like elderly neighbor Mrs. Chang (who turns out to be both a skilled seamstress and an agile Winged Monkey); Olive, one of three adult Munchkins; and Shawn Barr, the play’s charismatic director. Sloan (Counting by 7s) again captures the authentic voice of a child dealing with weighty topics, including loss and identity, in a charming and often funny way. Julia’s natural naïveté (such as not knowing that L. Frank Baum is not “El Frank Bomb”) and inability to self-censor make for a narrative filled with lighthearted and candid moments. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2016 Release date: 01/01/2017 Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-5028-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-399-18622-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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