From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-- A mix of fact and fiction that falls flat. The year is 1927. The setting is Hollywood. Ten-year-old Joey lives in near poverty with his widowed mother. He accompanies her to her job on a movie set, befriends a stuttering star of silent films, and lands a leading role--all in the same day. From that point on, it's out of poverty and into plush. Although peppered with period props--Boos Brothers knickers, Nash motorcars, Old Gold cigarettes, Blatz Bubble Gum--the historical perspective of this tale is lost in the drab dialogue and mediocre writing. Weaver concentrates on providing readers with information about how silent pictures were made, and even sets up a fake story (reminiscent of an incident involving Jackie Cooper) to make Joey cry on set. The final chapter hints at what a hard life the boy has had ever since getting into pictures. A closing wrap-up documents the time period; it's all very accurate, and all very dull. --Judie Porter, Media Services Center, Portsmouth School Department, RI
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Joey's dreams are realized when he becomes Little Joey Norman, child star in silent films in 1927. Barely managing to make ends meet, Joey's widowed mother plays the piano at a movie studio. Accompanying her one day, Joey is enchanted at how the illusion of reality is created and thrilled when he meets fading star Fozzy Dixon, ``the funniest man in the world.'' Fozzy gets Joey a job; he's an instant success, but stardom brings long days of hard work and heavy responsibilities as well as money to fulfill his dreams. Joey successfully crosses over into ``talkies,'' but Fozzy's stammer ends his career in films. A small, curly-haired moppet, Joey remains true to his irrepressible, fun-loving ten-year-old self, even in the midst of the narcissistic film world. Through Joey's eyes, the reader learns how silent films were made and sees the changes necessitated by sound. This brief, tightly written book in the ``Once Upon America'' series captures both the glamour and the seamier side of early Hollywood, providing a fascinating bit of history that is sure to enliven social studies units. (Fiction. 7-11) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.