CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 6. . . .October 8, 2010
Amaya loves to perform, and that desire is felt strongly on the first few pages of this beautifully illustrated story.
As Amaya competes with other youngsters for the lead through several rounds of auditions, readers sense her nervousness and excitement. Her audition goes well, and she is chosen for the lead role. The author then takes the reader on a detailed journey with Amaya through the process of preparing for a musical production, and Mclean's direct theatrical experience shows. Readers witness Amaya's many rehearsals, her increasing confidence as she memorizes her lines, her practice of the dramatic gestures with the help of her supportive mother, and readers even see Amaya's momentary stage fright. A highlight of this story is that Amaya meets the many people behind the scenes and sees their roles in the production of a live show, including the set designer, the costume designer, the choreographer and the stage manager. This young performer learns that hard work and team effort are needed in mounting any production.
The book, itself, is designed to mimic the parts of a play, being divided into "acts," with a prologue, an epilogue and a listing of the cast of characters. McLean, author of two previous children's books, Play Mas'! A Carnival ABC and Steel Drums and Ice Skates,
has focused his attention on theatre since 1978 and has published plays and screenplays as well as hosted playwriting workshops. This intimate knowledge of live productions transfers well into defining the roles of those involved in understandable language for young people, and the detailed glossary helps shed further light on theatre terms.
Reesa Cohen is a former instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.