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Short Hardcover – January 31, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Middle schooler Julia Marks reluctantly lands a part as a munchkin in a summer stock production of The Wizard of Oz. Tentative at first about her performing abilities, she's helped along by a group of adults who see what she has not yet realized about herself: she makes a big impression for such a small person. Julia is indeed very small; the title of the book describes the protagonist, who is several inches shorter than her classmates and has been uncomfortable about her height since she overheard her parents discussing it negatively. Julia's rambling first-person narration is very funny as she resists every new opportunity (lead munchkin dancer; second string winged monkey) and then decides she loves it once she tries it. Julia finds mentors in the well-drawn characters who make up the theater group, especially the charismatic director, who works lying down after he breaks his tailbone, and a septuagenarian costume designer and former prima ballerina. She changes her perspective on her own size when she befriends Olive, an actress with dwarfism who wows the protagonist with her singing and dancing chops, her fashion sense, and her confidence as she dresses down the director for his bias against an aspiring cast member. Brief chapters and an accessible writing style add to the novel's appeal. VERDICT Theater kids and fans of Tim Federle's "Nate" books will love this.—Beth Wright Redford, Richmond Elementary School Library, VT
Praise for Short
New York Times Bestseller
“Short joins other middle-grade novels . . . in celebrating the transcendent power of theater for kids.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Holly Goldberg Sloan is skilled at creating sympathetic and utterly charming young characters, and in Short she succeeds once again. . . . Sloan manages to deftly weave in tough topics like grief and identity with both the same humor and tenderness that made Counting By 7s such a hit.” —Entertainment Weekly
* "Sweet and uplifting. . . . It's refreshing that Julia doesn't mind being short and believes she's 'little, but big inside.' Her self-acceptance is inspiring and the joy she experiences in her foray into theater is irresistible." —Booklist, starred review
"A charming read with an important message that no matter one's stature, 'the way we move tells the world who we are.'" —Kirkus
"Very funny. . . . Theater kids and fans of Tim Federle's 'Nate' books will love this." —School Library Journal
"Sloan again captures the authentic voice of a child dealing with weighty topics, including loss and identity, in a charming and often funny way. . . . A narrative filled with lighthearted and candid moments." —Publishers Weekly
"A joy to read."—School Library Connection
"This is . . . a jubilant story about the way a new context can give kids a whole different perspective on life and themselves, and readers feeling stuck in their roles will particularly appreciate the implication."—BCCB
"The funny narration is in Julia's rambling, middle-school voice, which allows readers to experience her emotions and maturation with her. . . . Highly recommended."—VOYA
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Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes children's books that tackle issues fall into the trap of being pedantic; not so here. .As is the case with ALL of Goldberg Sloan's novels, I SO appreciate her writing - real and varied characters who think about and work through understanding things that matter..
I enjoyed the offhanded humor in this book which is why I recommend reading it aloud with a young friend or using it as a book club book with a grand from afar:
When Julia is at the orthodontists’: I look over and manage a half smile, but without showing teeth. “I’m waiting for Dr. Brinkman.” The woman answers, “I’m Dr. Brinkman.” I don’t say anything because the other two times I was here, I met a man named Dr. Brinkman. Who knows what happened to him in six months? We live in a rapidly changing world.
On opening night of the show: I lean into the window on the passenger side of the car. I smile at Mom and tell her something I’ve wanted to say all summer. “Thanks, Mom. Thanks for making me try out for this play.” I think I might just have made being a mother totally worthwhile for her. I will try to never forget her face. It’s too bad I don’t have a cell phone, because I could have taken a picture and that would have been great for my scrapbook. Mom’s got tears in her eyes and she’s smiling. It’s an amazing look. I have to remember how powerful it can be to say thank you. Especially to the people you live with. They probably least expect it.
This is a quirky, fun, stream-of-consciousness tale, a book that reminds me of the adults who were my friends when I was a child and how important they made me feel as I began to gain my own sense of self.
All too typically, the formula for girl's books is their social difficulties, their problems making friends and dealing with fitting in, because of problems with their appearance or personality. Short's Julia has her problems -- her height, something so many kids deal with, as well as her very real grief over her "passed on" dog. Simple, basic stuff. Then author Holly Sloan hangs Julia on one of the cleverest plots I've seen in a while. She's cast as a Munchkin in a summer semi-professional performance of the Wizard of Oz. The book opens up like an oyster to include the director, a talented next door neighbor, her performing brother, and a very sympathetic and helpful Little Person, who at 4' 9" is just her height only with a lot of wisdom to share. Every minor character in the cast is well drawn and charming, with their own set of problems, and Julia's voice burbles along as she alternates between observations both naive and astute.
Maybe I'll get lucky and Sloan will cast Julia in another production next summer. I can't wait.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unmissable -- .