Publisher's Note:  

In this heartwarming, funny middle-grade novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s, Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in a production of  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. 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. 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, while emphasizing the importance of role models, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Dial Books for Young Readers


by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Overall Review:  

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s (which was so fabulous it is basically impossible to top), is middle grade contemporary fiction.  The main character, Julia (who interestingly does refer to herself as a terrier), is in fact a lot like a Jack Russell terrier; the reader is exposed to her constant, mental monologue which flits from subject to subject in a somewhat random pattern.  Julia is a bit self-interested and self-absorbed, but ultimately a likeable character.  Ms. Sloan has included other eccentric characters in the narrative, but the focus is firmly on Julia.  Short is ultimately about finding "your thing" and finding confidence in oneself.  Theater fans will enjoy Julia's experience in the cast of Wizard of Oz and relate to how a theater production experience can be transformative.  The author's voice is clearly recognizable from Counting by 7s, but this is a lighter book.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  Report of death of a pet; report of young girl hitting boy with a jacket on purpose, resulting in a minor injury and bleeding; character injured in a fall and required hospitalization; report daughter died from cancer.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to movie "Our Changing Bodies"; reference to puberty; adults kiss; two adult women like the same man.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death of pet, cancer, dwarfism.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Middle school-aged character sips champagne at a cast party.

Reviewed By Cindy
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