Starring Hillary

Kathy Caple, Author, Kathy Caple, Illustrator Carolrhoda Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57505-261-8
At the center of Caple's (The Wimp) skimpy yet earnest story is Hillary, a cheerful cat and aspiring actress. Though she is ""a little on the round side,"" her mother wisely tells her not to worry, since ""we come in all shapes and sizes. You are just right the way you are."" Yet slim older sister Felice, obsessed with dieting and exercising, advises her sibling that she'll never make it on stage unless she loses weight. When Hillary spots an ad for an audition, she takes Felice's words to heart and, under her demanding sister's directives (tempered not one iota by their mother, who disappears after the first page), she embarks on a crash diet and a rigorous exercise regime. She has trouble sleeping and is ""nervous all the time,"" until she attends a concert by a famous but ""round"" performer who inspires her to be comfortable with herself. Predictably, the newly confident young feline aces her audition, announces to Felice that ""they liked me just the way I am"" and she abandons her diet. The message is inarguably worthy, particularly with eating disorders on the rise, but the tale lacks spark and subtlety. The art captures Hillary's spunk and determination, yet otherwise it, too, seems to be mostly in service of driving home a lesson. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Genre: Children's
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