by Holly Goldberg Sloan
First sentence: “I spend a lot of time looking up.”
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Release date: January 31, 2017
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some more “grown up” stuff that 3rd graders might be confused about (well, nothing specific; it just felt more that way), but it’s good for the 5th grade and up. I’ll probably put it in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore, for now.
Julia Marks is short for her age. She’s mostly okay with this, though she is tired of the jokes and tries not to use the word “short” hardly at all. So, when her mother finds something for her and her younger brother to do this summer, in the form of being munchkins in a local performance of The Wizard of Oz, Julia is less than thrilled. Especially since her dog recently died. But then she meets Olive, an adult with dwarfism, and suddenly the summer becomes much more… wondrous. She also meets her neighbor, Mrs. Chang, an older woman who turns out to be a lot more than Julia initially thought. As the summer progresses and rehearsals go on, Julia learns that she’s capable of, well, big things.
Like all of Sloan’s other books, this one is incredibly charming. Sloan has a gift for taking simple situations — a summer play, a girl who is insecure about her height — and making them Grand. It seems a simple plot, but Julia is a fantastic character to spend a book with. And the characters Sloan surrounds her with, from Olive and Mrs. Chang to all the other bit (and not so bit) players, are equally as wonderful. Sloan makes you want to fall into the book and experience life right along with Julia. Sloan has a way of capturing the littlest parts of every day life and making them magical.
A delightful book, one that will hopefully be as beloved as Sloan’s others.