From the Publisher
"Ruzzier creates a haunting intimacy with his watercolors of a centuries-old Italian town (the theater is a tiny Umbrian jewel) and its strangely human-eyed animal citizens, as well as his unvarnished language (“Nobody had come. Sometimes these things happen, and nobody can say why”). Showing a magical insight into the imagination of small children, he allows Amandina an intense sweep of feeling before granting her no less—but no more—than her wish. The mood he casts will resonate, particularly with introspective readers."
School Library Journal FUSE #8 Blog
"There is a very specific feeling you get from a picture book when the combination of text and image is pitch perfect. It’s a very hard thing to get, mind you. You might have a book where the words are lovely and the pictures exciting, but if the two don’t work in tandem then your end product is going to end up a merely okay bit of indistinguishable dribble. A hint of what might have been will hover over the reading experience. I mention this because I’m trying to find a way to explain why Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier is as delicately miraculous as it is. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s a Neal Porter book and Mr. Porter is known for helping to bring perfect little books into the world (see: Dog and Bear). Maybe it has to do with author/illustrator Sergio Ruzzier, whose previous books and collaborations have played effectively with tone and story. Maybe it’s the thickness of the paper or the shade of the watercolors. Maybe it’s everything altogether or maybe it’s none of this at all. Whatever the case, if you are looking for a story that is sweet but not saccharine and carries a lovely little message without beating you over the head with a didacticism stick, this is the book for you. A book designed to be the perfect gift for any 4-8 year old child."
School Library Journal
"The artwork combines delicate lines and faded colors to create a fanciful stage for this likable character."
"Quiet, precise, whimsical watercolor illustrations in subdued pastels enhance the surreal ambiance of Amandina's solitary exploits. A subdued but charming tribute to determination and perseverance."
Amandina Goldeneyes, a shy, lonely, long-eared dog, is a talented performer, "but nobody knew that, because nobody knew Amandina." Amandina decides to rent the rundown Teatro Ventura "in the old town" and spruce it up. She designs costumes, sets and props for her solo debut, which will involve performing music, acrobatics and the role of Beauty opposite a hinge-jointed puppet Beast. But despite her publicity and promo blitz, despite a marvelous dream the night before, the curtain rises to an empty house. Ruzzier (The Little Giant) creates a haunting intimacy with his watercolors of a centuries-old Italian town (the theater is a tiny Umbrian jewel) and its strangely human-eyed animal citizens, as well as his unvarnished language ("Nobody had come. Sometimes these things happen, and nobody can say why"). Showing a magical insight into the imagination of small children, he allows Amandina an intense sweep of feeling before granting her no less-but no more-than her wish. The mood he casts will resonate, particularly with introspective readers. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Amandina is a talented little dog, but nobody knows it because she is so shy. One evening she decides to give a performance and invite everyone to see it. She rents and renovates an old theater. She creates costumes, sets and props. She then puts up posters and sends out invitations, dreaming of a triumph. To her despair, when the curtains part in the theater, nobody is there. Bravely, Amandina decides the show must go on, and she begins. There is in the audience, however, a small cockroach. Astounded by what he sees, he spreads the word to his friends. After putting on an incredible show for what she thinks is an empty theater, Amandina is astonished and delighted to hear thunderous applause. She is "the happiest little dog in town." Colored drawings depict our heroine with her potbelly, long ears and pointed snout amid the bolts of cloth with the old-fashioned sewing machine used to make the costumes. She is busy with the stacks of invitations, painting the flats, carving the masks and hanging posters on the wall of a deserted street, in many scenes framed in different, decorative borders and in vignettes. Amandina goes from being silently alone to being surrounded by the applauding crowd. She should be an inspiration to timid dreamers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Amandina Goldeneyes can "dance, and sing, and act beautifully, and perform the most daring acrobatics," but the small pup is so shy that her talents go unnoticed. Vowing to overcome her fears, she fixes up a run-down theater and stages a one-dog show. Ruzzier's quirky ink drawings capture the canine sewing, painting, and building elaborate props. When the curtain rises on opening night, she is saddened to see no one in the audience, but goes on with the show. A tiny cockroach emerges from a tear in one of the seats and is mesmerized by the performance. He calls all of his friends and soon the house is full. After the grand finale, Amandina bows before what she thinks is an empty theater and is greeted with "thunderous applause." The artwork combines delicate lines and faded colors to create a fanciful stage for this likable character. Pair this title with Emily Arnold McCully's Speak up, Blanche! (HarperCollins, 1991) for a look at confidence-building artistic pursuits.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Amandina Goldeneyes can "dance, and sing, and act beautifully, and perform the most daring acrobatics," but she is so shy no one realizes what a wonderful little dog she is. One evening Amandina decides to cure her shyness by giving a performance and inviting everyone. The floppy-eared Amandina rents a run-down theater, repairs and cleans it, designs and sews her own costumes, builds sets and props, sends out invitations and advertises, each activity depicted in cunning vignettes and framed panels. She dreams she will be a great success. Come opening night, Amandina is excited and nervous, but unprepared for an empty theater. Undaunted, she performs her prologue, comic pantomime, band concert, folk songs, dances, magic act and acrobatic finale as planned. And when she takes her bow, she has a wonderful surprise. Quiet, precise, whimsical watercolor illustrations in subdued pastels enhance the surreal ambiance of Amandina's solitary exploits. A subdued but charming tribute to determination and perseverance. (Picture book. 4-6)