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Acting Out: Six One-Act Plays

Overview

Six masterful children's authors have become master playwrights in this collection of one-act plays that might just make you want to ACT OUT!

In The Raven, Sharon Creech spoofs a publishing office while Susan Cooper shows the environment fighting back against overdevelopment in The Dollop. Patricia MacLachlan puts a twist on detention in The Bad Room and Katherine Paterson gives us a new twist on a classic fairy tale in The Billionaire and the Bird. Richard Peck's Effigy in the ...

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Overview

Six masterful children's authors have become master playwrights in this collection of one-act plays that might just make you want to ACT OUT!

In The Raven, Sharon Creech spoofs a publishing office while Susan Cooper shows the environment fighting back against overdevelopment in The Dollop. Patricia MacLachlan puts a twist on detention in The Bad Room and Katherine Paterson gives us a new twist on a classic fairy tale in The Billionaire and the Bird. Richard Peck's Effigy in the Outhouse is the story of schoolboys doing their best to trick a spooky substitute while Avi's Not Seeing Is Believing has words playing tricks on everyone.

With a star-studded lineup of writers there's a stage full of drama, comedy, and great storytelling waiting behind these curtains!

Newbery Medal-winning and beloved authors Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck have come together and written six original one-act plays to be read, shared, and acted out by the audience they know best.

The playwrights could write about anything and anyone they wanted, but one thing would need to tie the stories all together. Each author had to choose one word and share it with the group. These six words then had to be written into each of the plays.

The words they chose were "dollop," "hoodwink," "Justin," "knuckleball," "panhandle," and "raven." To find out the funny, odd, and creative ways they were used...Well, you'll have to read for yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6-8- This collection includes selections by Avi, Sharon Creech, Susan Cooper, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck. Each play was inspired by a theater-improv game in which the authors started with the selection of a single word. The pieces all include the following words: "dollop," "hoodwink," "Justin," "knuckleball," "panhandle," and "raven." Part of the fun is in seeing how these playwrights incorporate them into their stories. Most are humorous, and they all have many young characters. Production requirements range from easy to difficult. An engaging choice for literature and acting classes as well as general reading.-Terrilyn Fleming, Colby Public Schools, KS

Kirkus Reviews
Editor Chanda recruited six Newbery Award-winning authors-Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson and Richard Peck-to write one-act plays suitable for children to read either silently or aloud, or perhaps to stage. He added one quirky requirement. Each play had to include six specific words, one each submitted by the playwrights: DOLLOP, HOODWINK, JUSTIN, KNUCKLEBALL, PANHANDLE and RAVEN. The results vary delightfully. Creech offers a biting and funny satire on the publishing world, with young Edgar Allan Poe attempting to sell his famous poem, and Peck provides a creepy ghost story about a riotous group of kids in a one-room school tamed by an elderly teacher with long experience. Paterson reworks Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Nightingale" into a modern morality tale, and Avi pens a hilarious play, featuring a disembodied voice, about the monster in the closet. Each author offers advice for staging. These would make exciting classroom or family activities, and all stand up well as entertaining reads. A dollop of fun for everyone. (Plays. 8-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416938491
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/22/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 260,448
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi

Avi is the author of more than fifty books for children and young adults, including the 2003 Newbery medal winner Crispin: The Cross of Lead. He has won two Newbery Honors and many other awards for his fiction. He lives with his family in Denver, Colorado. Visit him at Avi-Writer.com.

Susan Cooper is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor and has sold millions of copies worldwide. She is also the author of Victory, a Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth book and a Washington Post Top Ten for Children novel; King of Shadows, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor book; The Boggart; Seaward; Ghost Hawk; and many other acclaimed novels for young readers and listeners. She lives in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at TheLostLand.com.

Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s Story; Edward’s Eyes; The True Gift; Waiting for the Magic; White Fur Flying; and Fly Away. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Biography

Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lights, camera, act!

    This collection of one-act plays, written by six winners of the Newbery Medal, will appeal to middle school students enrolled in a beginning drama class. My favorite is Sharon Creech's "The Bad Room," which revolves around students in detention; it reminds me a bit of the 1985 movie, "The Breakfast Club." One interesting spin is that each author was asked to choose a word to use in his/her play; all six words chosen were then used in each play. Students will recognize the names of the authors, making it more likely to draw them into the plays.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka Readingjunky for TeensReadToo

    What happens when you ask six Newbery Award winners to write one-act plays? Well, you get a book like ACTING OUT, and you get the potential for a lot of fun. Award-winning authors Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck were asked to write one-act plays. They were given the freedom to write about anything, but there was one catch. Each author picked a word which was to be used in all six plays. The words chosen were dollop, hoodwink, Justin, knuckleball, panhandle, and raven. Their creative efforts are a pleasure to read. The subjects of the plays include school topics like the detention room and a scary substitute, a mysterious voice, a moving, talking giant rock, a childhood Edgar A. Poe, and a selfish billionaire. Each script includes stage directions, character descriptions, and production hints. ACTING OUT is successful as a casual reading experience as well as for its potential for actual staged performances. Readers will appreciate seeing a different side of some of their favorite Newbery authors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    What happens when you ask six Newbery Award winners to write one-act plays? Well, you get a book like ACTING OUT, and you get the potential for a lot of fun. <BR/><BR/>Award-winning authors Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck were asked to write one-act plays. They were given the freedom to write about anything, but there was one catch. Each author picked a word which was to be used in all six plays. The words chosen were dollop, hoodwink, Justin, knuckleball, panhandle, and raven. Their creative efforts are a pleasure to read. <BR/><BR/>The subjects of the plays include school topics like the detention room and a scary substitute, a mysterious voice, a moving, talking giant rock, a childhood Edgar A. Poe, and a selfish billionaire. Each script includes stage directions, character descriptions, and production hints. <BR/><BR/>ACTING OUT is successful as a casual reading experience as well as for its potential for actual staged performances. Readers will appreciate seeing a different side of some of their favorite Newbery authors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted April 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2009

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