cover image STAGESTRUCK


Tomie dePaola, . . Putnam, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24338-7

DePaola (26 Fairmount Avenue ) takes the stage in this latest story inspired by his childhood memories. For young Tommy, all the world—and especially all of kindergarten—is a stage. Tommy did such a swell job as Pilgrim John Alden in the class's Thanksgiving production, he's confident he'll play the lead in the spring play, Peter Rabbit . But Tommy's enthusiasm about the role gets the better of him and when his attention wanders and he talks out of turn, Miss Bird relegates him to play Mopsy instead of Peter. Since there are no small parts (only small actors, as the saying goes), Tommy takes it upon himself to use his gift of "stage presence" and play Mopsy for all the bunny's worth. The hammy result amuses the audience, but not Miss Bird, or Tommy's fellow actors—especially the boy playing Peter. Amends are made, and Tommy sets his sights on the next opportunity to take the stage. Gentle humor and realistic childhood emotions abound in this tale of the ups and downs of a budding performer. DePaola's recognizable style of sunny, acrylic paintings spotlighting Tommy's bushy head of dark hair and playfully prominent ears are worthy of an encore. And small panel scenes of Tommy/Mopsy's antics plus his daydreams of spotlights to come are sure to rouse a chuckle from readers. Ages 4-up. (Feb.)