- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (May 15, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374369240
- ISBN-13: 978-0374369248
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,493,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Simple Gift Hardcover – May 15, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-Budding actors especially will appreciate this contemporary novel about the theater experiences of a 10-year-old New Yorker during her summer vacation. Carrie travels to her mother's hometown in North Carolina to audition for a part in a play based on one of the woman's best-selling children's novels. The story line involves a popular boy letting an unpopular boy substitute for him in a school play. The lead, who cannot read or write well but has a natural talent as an actor, is talked into taking the part by the director, who grew up in the town and is now a success on Broadway. By the end of the book, Carrie realizes that the main characters are modeled after her uncle, who drowned when he was young, and her mother's childhood acquaintance-"Louis the Loser," who is now a director. Good characterizations and a well-developed plot make this an enjoyable read.
Marilyn Ackerman, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. After a well-received turn as a tooth in a class play, 10-year-old Carrie O'Connor decides she wants to be an actress. An opportunity for a more professional role appears in her mother's North Carolina hometown. Mrs. O'Connor is the author of the famous Mike Madigan series for children, and one of the books has been turned into a play. Carrie wins a role--on her own merits--but things almost blow up when she blabs that the show's young star has to be taught his lines because he has trouble reading. This could have used some tightening and revision. Carrie's age is not clear at first; she seems more like 7 or 8 than 10, especially for a New York City kid. There are too many stock characters, and it's odd that a famous Broadway director (also a hometown boy) is putting on this play. Patterson does have some nice touches, however, including getting some of the story out in newspaper articles and a poignant last chapter that links Mike Madigan with a family story. Those looking for a book with a contemporary setting that harkens back to an earlier era will find it here. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
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Carrie's mother, Kate McCarrity O'Connor's, has written 12 books, all of which are best sellers. One of them she wrote is called Michael Madigan's Curtain Call. This book is very special to Kate. It is written about a young boy named Michael Madigan and it tells about some of his unique life experiences.
Carrie talks her parents into letting her audition for a play in Brownsville, North Carolina, which is Kate's hometown.
Carrie auditions for several days. Carrie refuses to let anyone know who she is. She wants to get the part without her mother influencing the Broadway director L. Bennett Sanders. He, just like Kate, had left Brownsville several years earlier. Both him and Carrie's mother had returned in order to turn the book into a play. Carrie does get a part in the play and she is thrilled.
Carrie and the rest of the cast begin practicing every day. Each one had to learn their lines, and their routines. They really were able to see how hard the work is in the acting world. They changes from regular kids into true actors. However, Carrie almost ruins the entire production. Will Carrie be able to over come her problem? Read the book to see.
I liked the book. It has a great message within its pages. The characters appear to come to life. As one read the book they seem jump right off of the pages.
I felt that they plot was very well organized. I really enjoyed the way the book was arranged, especially the ending. I thought that the timing was perfect.
The message it brought out is about honesty. Carrie learns that it is best if she admits her mistake and takes the consequences. Carrie also learns that it is best if everyone works toward a resolution together. In the book the cast members also are exposed to hard work. They practice daily to prepare for the play. I believe kids when reading this book will be exposed to some aspects of the working world. Kids need this type of exposure to some extent so that the real world will not be such a shock.
I really think this book is similar to Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Both of these book are on my favorite list. There is a nice surprise in both of these books. While reading them I could not put them down until I had read every page.
I think that everyone will find A simple Gift by Nancy Ralph Patterson a wonderful asset to their classroom collection.
I think that this book flowed well and the author kept the story engaging. Young readers age 8-12 will identify with the main character Carrie. This is an excellent example of a contemporary story with some good old-fashioned values.