In this heartwarming and funny middle-grade novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s, Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz
Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins—and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background—and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!
Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Short is like a gumdrop of pure imagination and delight. It’s the story of a vertically challenged girl named Julia Marks who gets cast as a munchkin in a university production of The Wizard of Oz and discovers exciting new things about herself and the adults around her. She also creates a scrapbook of her life, walking us through some of the entertaining highs and missteps. Holly Goldberg Sloan has written an enchanting heroine whose observations and inner truths sparkle with charm.
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 na vet (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.
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