Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Published by Dial Books

Summary:  Julia is a girl who doesn’t think of herself as very talented.  Unusually short for her age, she daydreams a lot in school and hasn’t been particularly successful in extracurriculars like soccer and piano.  Her beloved dog has recently died, and she’s feeling at loose ends as the summer begins.  When her mom drags her to an audition for a local production of The Wizard of Oz, Julia is sure that the only member of the family to be cast in the play will be her talented younger brother.  Much to her surprise, she gets the part of a munchkin, and her summer quickly takes a surprising new turn.  A little person, Olive becomes a friend and mentor, pairing with Julia in the role of lead dancer for the munchkins.  The director, Shawn Barr, sees something special in Julia, and gives her an additional role as a winged monkey.  And Julia reaches out to an elderly neighbor, who turns out to have a surprising talent for the theater and some wisdom to share as well.  By the end of the play’s run, Julia is seeing herself in a whole new way, embracing who she is with a newfound confidence.  304 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A heartwarming, funny story by the author of Counting by 7’s.  Readers will root for Julia as she stumbles through her time on the stage, but never gives up and emerges triumphant by the end.

Cons:  For all the director was supposed to be so creative, it sounded like his production of The Wizard of Oz was a carbon copy of the movie.

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