Annabel the Actress: Starring in Gorilla My Dreams

Overview

Meet Annabel: Actress Extraordinaire!
Nobody can steal this girl's spotlight! Not even the twerp Lowell Boxer, who steals Annabel's mask as she makes her way to her first acting job. This aspiring actress has what it takes to play a convincing gorilla — even without the costume — for a five-year-old's birthday party.

Though a little disppointed that her first acting part is to be a gorilla at a ...

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Overview

Meet Annabel: Actress Extraordinaire!
Nobody can steal this girl's spotlight! Not even the twerp Lowell Boxer, who steals Annabel's mask as she makes her way to her first acting job. This aspiring actress has what it takes to play a convincing gorilla — even without the costume — for a five-year-old's birthday party.

Though a little disppointed that her first acting part is to be a gorilla at a birthday party, Annabel determines to really get into the role.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Conford's (the Jenny Archer series) fast-paced and funny first installment of a chapter-book series introduces an appealing thespian, Annabel, whose first paid job requires her to play a gorilla for a children's birthday party. In addition to Annabel, who wants "to be a movie star someday. Or at least a soap opera star," the boisterous cast includes Maggie, Annabel's resourceful friend and budding costume designer, and Lowell, Annabel's arch enemy who nearly closes her run as a gorilla before her debut. Andriani's (Really, Really Bad School Jokes) well-chosen comic scenes show Annabel getting into character by pretending to pick fleas out of her father's "fur" while he works on his computer and desperately trying to avoid dropping the birthday cake while being assaulted by her adoring five-year old "fans." In Annabel, Conford has created a persistent heroine smart and capable enough to overcome her small size and makeshift costume. This rising star will likely be a crowd pleaser for this and future performances. Ages 7-9. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
First in a new series, this book introduces Annabel who will take any job as long as it involves acting. Here, she works as a paid gorilla at a five-year-old's birthday party. She pieces the costume together with fur material and pins, then borrows the treasured gorilla mask of a friend's brother. But a bully steals the mask, the costume prickles and threatens to come apart, and the five-year-old's friends are out of control until Annabel decides to act the part. She becomes Queen Kong, tames the party, leads a wild dance, ends with dignity by refusing to smush cake into her mouth, and collects her ten dollars. The happiest ending is reserved, however, for she tricks the bully into giving her back the mask. A terrific read for second graders, it features crow-quill line drawing on nearly every page, snappy dialog, five acts (or chapters) in 64 pages, and a worthwhile theme: the costume doesn't make the gorilla, the actor does.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In this humorous beginning chapter book, Conford introduces a resourceful, funny, and clever character who is a worthy successor to Jenny Archer. Annabel, an aspiring young actress who advertises "...NO PART TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL," is hired for her first job, playing a gorilla at a five-year-old's birthday party. Her friend Maggie volunteers to make her a costume from the furry lining of an old raincoat, she borrows a gorilla mask, and begins to practice gorilla behavior at home and at school. Unfortunately, the material is so thick that Maggie can only pin the pieces together and Annabel's worst enemy, Lowell Boxer, steals the mask from her on the big day. Forced to rely on her acting skills-while pins are jabbing her-Annabel is the hit of the party. She also comes up with a clever ploy to retrieve the mask from Lowell. The vocabulary is appropriate for those graduating from easy-readers, but the language is never stilted. Amusing pen-and-ink illustrations appear on almost every page. This book will be enjoyed by fans of James Howe's "Pinky and Rex" series (Atheneum) and Johanna Hurwitz's Russell and Elisa (Puffin, 1990).-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689838835
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Series: Annabel the Actress Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 465,200
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Conford wanted to be an actress when she was growing up; she found that the best way to insure a starring role for herself was to write her own scripts! Since her downward slide from stardom in the fourth grade, she turned to writing and now has nearly fifty books to her credit, including the popular Jenny Archer series, Felicia the Critic, and I Love You, I Hate You, Get Lost. She is currently working on the next Annabel book, in which Annabel lands a part as an extra in a movie. Ms. Conford lives in Great Neck, New York, with her husband, David.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Annabel the Actress

Annabel was an actress.

Every week she put an ad in the town newspaper. The paper printed free ads for kids who wanted jobs.

Annabel's ad read:

ANNABEL THE ACTRESS.

NO PART TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL.

Annabel wanted to be a movie star someday. Or at least a soap opera star.

When she watched TV, she studied how the actors acted.

When she went to the movies, she imagined how she would play the starring roles.

Sometimes she thought, I could do that. Sometimes she thought, I could do better than that.

She read all the books she could find in the library about acting.

And she practiced all the time.

Today she was acting angry.

She stood in front of a mirror. She made her face look snarly. She messed up her hair. She held her hands out like claws.

"I hate you!" she shouted at the mirror. "Hate you, hate you, hate you!"

That's pretty good anger, she thought. But it's not great anger.

She tried to think of things that made her angry: Homework on a weekend. Losing all her money in Monopoly. Lowell Boxer making fun of her.

Lowell Boxer was her lifelong enemy.

She pretended Lowell Boxer was in the mirror.

"Grr! You get out of here, Lowell! Or else!"

Now that's great anger, Annabel thought. The important thing about acting was feeling the part. And she almost always felt angry at Lowell Boxer.

The phone rang.

"Hello!" shouted Annabel. "What do you want?"

"My, you sound angry," the caller said.

"Thank you," said Annabel. "I'm not really angry I was just practicing acting angry."

"Then you must be Annabel," the caller said. "I saw your ad in the newspaper."

"I am Annabel," Annabel said. "Do you need an actress?"

"I need a gorilla."

"Then why did you call an actress?" Annabel asked.

"What I mean is, I need someone to play the part of a gorilla," the caller said.

"For a movie?" Annabel asked hopefully "Or a TV show?"

"For my little brother's birthday party."

"Oh," said Annabel. Just a kid's party. She wouldn't have a very big audience. And there probably wouldn't be any show business people there.

But a job was a job.

"I want a gorilla to carry in the cake and sing 'Happy Birthday,'" the caller said.

"I can sing," Annabel said. "And dance, too. But maybe not while I'm carrying a cake."

"How much would you charge?" the caller asked. "You would only have to be here for about half an hour."

Annabel thought about it. "Ten dollars," she said.

"That seems fair," said the caller. "But you sound like a kid."

"I am a kid," said Annabel. "Do you think a grown-up would work that cheap?"

"It's just that Dennis likes big gorillas. You might be too short."

"I am an actress," Annabel said. "I will act tall."

"Well, okay The price is right, anyhow. My name is Daisy Fry. Our address is 462 Washington Street."

Annabel wrote it down. "Is your brother Dennis Fry?" she asked. "The one who got stuck on his roof?"

"That's Dennis." Daisy sighed. "We had quite a crowd here that day."

"I know," said Annabel. "I saw the firemen get him down."

"You must live pretty near us," Daisy said.

"Yes," said Annabel, "so I will not need a limo."

"You have a limo?" Daisy sounded impressed.

"No," said Annabel. "That's why I'm glad I won't need one."

"Be here at two o'clock Saturday," Daisy said. "And come in the back door. I don't want Dennis to see you. By the way — you do have a gorilla costume, don't you?"

"Of course," said Annabel. "Doesn't everyone?"

"Okay," said Daisy "See you Saturday, then."

"Wait!" Annabel said. "How old is Dennis?"

"He'll be five on Saturday."

"Are you sure you want a gorilla?" asked Annabel. "Gorillas can be pretty scary."

"Dennis loves gorillas," Daisy said. "King Kong is his favorite movie."

"All right," said Annabel. "You're the director. I just hope I don't scare him."

"You don't sound very scary," Daisy said.

"That's because I haven't gotten into the part yet," Annabel told her. "By Saturday I'll be terrifying."

She hung up the phone.

She had a part!

It was only a children's birthday party. But all great actors have to start somewhere. And she would be paid ten dollars. For only half an hour of acting!

Now all she had to do was find a gorilla costume.

Copyright © 1999 by Ellen Conford

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First Chapter

Chapter One: Annabel the Actress Annabel was an actress.

Every week she put an ad in the town newspaper. The paper printed free ads for kids who wanted jobs.

Annabel's ad read:

ANNABEL THE ACTRESS.
NO PART TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL.

Annabel wanted to be a movie star someday. Or at least a soap opera star.

When she watched TV, she studied how the actors acted.

When she went to the movies, she imagined how she would play the starring roles.

Sometimes she thought, I could do that. Sometimes she thought, I could do better than that.

She read all the books she could find in the library about acting.

And she practiced all the time.

Today she was acting angry.

She stood in front of a mirror. She made her face look snarly. She messed up her hair. She held her hands out like claws.

"I hate you!" she shouted at the mirror. "Hate you, hate you, hate you!"

That's pretty good anger, she thought. But it's not great anger.

She tried to think of things that made her angry: Homework on a weekend. Losing all her money in Monopoly. Lowell Boxer making fun of her.

Lowell Boxer was her lifelong enemy.

She pretended Lowell Boxer was in the mirror.

"Grr! You get out of here, Lowell! Or else!"

Now that's great anger, Annabel thought. The important thing about acting was feeling the part. And she almost always felt angry at Lowell Boxer.

The phone rang.

"Hello!" shouted Annabel. "What do you want?"

"My, you sound angry," the caller said.

"Thank you," said Annabel. "I'm not really angry I was just practicing acting angry."

"Then you must be Annabel," the caller said. "I saw your ad in the newspaper."

"I am Annabel," Annabel said. "Do you need an actress?"

"I need a gorilla."

"Then why did you call an actress?" Annabel asked.

"What I mean is, I need someone to play the part of a gorilla," the caller said.

"For a movie?" Annabel asked hopefully "Or a TV show?"

"For my little brother's birthday party."

"Oh," said Annabel. Just a kid's party. She wouldn't have a very big audience. And there probably wouldn't be any show business people there.

But a job was a job.

"I want a gorilla to carry in the cake and sing 'Happy Birthday,'" the caller said.

"I can sing," Annabel said. "And dance, too. But maybe not while I'm carrying a cake."

"How much would you charge?" the caller asked. "You would only have to be here for about half an hour."

Annabel thought about it. "Ten dollars," she said.

"That seems fair," said the caller. "But you sound like a kid."

"I am a kid," said Annabel. "Do you think a grown-up would work that cheap?"

"It's just that Dennis likes big gorillas. You might be too short."

"I am an actress," Annabel said. "I will act tall."

"Well, okay The price is right, anyhow. My name is Daisy Fry. Our address is 462 Washington Street."

Annabel wrote it down. "Is your brother Dennis Fry?" she asked. "The one who got stuck on his roof?"

"That's Dennis." Daisy sighed. "We had quite a crowd here that day."

"I know," said Annabel. "I saw the firemen get him down."

"You must live pretty near us," Daisy said.

"Yes," said Annabel, "so I will not need a limo."

"You have a limo?" Daisy sounded impressed.

"No," said Annabel. "That's why I'm glad I won't need one."

"Be here at two o'clock Saturday," Daisy said. "And come in the back door. I don't want Dennis to see you. By the way -- you do have a gorilla costume, don't you?"

"Of course," said Annabel. "Doesn't everyone?"

"Okay," said Daisy "See you Saturday, then."

"Wait!" Annabel said. "How old is Dennis?"

"He'll be five on Saturday."

"Are you sure you want a gorilla?" asked Annabel. "Gorillas can be pretty scary."

"Dennis loves gorillas," Daisy said. "King Kong is his favorite movie."

"All right," said Annabel. "You're the director. I just hope I don't scare him."

"You don't sound very scary," Daisy said.

"That's because I haven't gotten into the part yet," Annabel told her. "By Saturday I'll be terrifying."

She hung up the phone.

She had a part!

It was only a children's birthday party. But all great actors have to start somewhere. And she would be paid ten dollars. For only half an hour of acting!

Now all she had to do was find a gorilla costume.

Copyright © 1999 by Ellen Conford

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