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Stagestruck Paperback – November 8, 2007
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2 - Tommy knows that he will be the perfect Peter in his kindergarten class's production of Peter Rabbit. After all, he knows how to tap dance, and everyone was impressed with his performance in the Thanksgiving play. However, Miss Bird casts him as Mopsy. Determined to be the best Mopsy he can be, he decides to take his tap teacher's suggestion and react to the other performers on stage. Ultimately, Tommy steals the show, and the boy who plays Peter loses his chance to be the star. After a bit of gentle urging from his mother, Tommy does the right thing and apologizes, but still can't wait to get onstage once again. Filled with warm colors and gentle humor, dePaola's illustrations are as impressive as always. The characters' emotions are clearly conveyed through the arch of an eyebrow or the angle of a line-drawn mouth. Through both words and pictures, the artist sets the stage for a fun story that kids will love, and a good lesson about sharing the limelight. - Kelley Rae Unger, Peabody Institute, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
PreS-Gr. 2. Tommy hopes for the lead role in his kindergarten class production of Peter Rabbit, but his teacher assigns him to play Mopsy, who has no lines. Tommy makes the most of what he has, though, reacting (actually, overreacting) to every move by Peter Rabbit and stealing the show. The audience cheers him, but Tommy's mother sets him straight, and he later apologizes to his classmate and his teacher. Children will empathize with Tommy all the way, from ambition to temptation to reconciliation. The gently delivered lesson at the end does not dampen the fun of watching this aspiring thespian get carried away when he hears the audience respond to his onstage antics. The classroom milieu will look familiar to children despite the differences in dress that indicate an earlier era. With its warm palette, rounded shapes, and clarity of expression, dePaola's signature style makes Tommy's world an inviting place to visit. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"Since you cannot pay attention, you will not play Peter Rabbit." (Ouch!)
"You will be Mopsy!" "But Mopsy is a girl bunny!" Tommy said.
(Double Ouch!) "Not in our play..."
Tommy seems to take ths setback professionally. He remembers that what his tapdance instructor told him: Onstage performers should react to what their fellow performers do. FOr example, if they do something funny, act like a member of the audience and laugh.
However, Tommy overdoes it during "Peter Rabbit." In veteran author/illustrator Tomie De Paola's acrylic illustrations, Tommy looks so surprised, sad, sick, etc. that he's basically just mugging for his young audience, and they eat it up. His teacher smilingly tells Tommy he's a ham; However, his mom informs him that he stole the show. He is to tell Johnny (who played Peter) and the teacher that he is sorry, and he does. He pauses and seems to agree. However, in a too-quick conclusion, Tommy remembers the audience's attention and applause, and he can hardly wait to get back onstage.
That's it? As portrayed in the book, Tommy's apologies seem perfunctory and with insufficient comprehension. His teacher is both too stern and too forgiving; she doesn't respond appropriately to Tommy's unintentional scene stealing. And Tommy, who's only five and did not act (it appears, anyway) maliciously, is treated punitively rather than with empathy and a focus on understanding. The story is too shallow, with one subplot about a shy girl in the play, and the adult "voice" (the "message") is confusing. Illustrations are pleasant and colorful, but, like the story, they lack complexity and dimension.