Readers will offer polite rather than thunderous applause when the curtain goes down on Caseley's (Starring Dorothy Kane; Witch Mama) stilted tale about Mrs. Humphrey's class play, in which the kids dress up in homemade animal costumes. At center stage here is Mickey, disgruntled at being assigned the role of a duck until his older sister, Jenna, reads him the script and reassuringly announces that he gets ""to sing a song and hop and flap your wings.... And you even get to hatch."" As the students rehearse, Caseley casts the spotlight on each group of actors and notes why the children are pleased with their various animal parts. At times, the writing seems clumsy, in service of a somewhat forced theme (""They all felt special in their own ways, which made Mrs. Humphrey happy because she said that the play was about celebrating your differences""). The story goes on at some length, ending with the four members of Mickey's family going out for ice cream--""Four different flavors!"" Despite the appealing energy of her brightly hued watercolor, colored pencil and black-pen art, Caseley gives a lackluster performance. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998 Release date: 08/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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