Annabel the Actress Starring in Just A Little Extra

Annabel the Actress Starring in Just A Little Extra

by Ellen Conford

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Maggie's mouth dropped open. "I don't believe it. You got discovered?" "Well," Annabel said, "maybe not exactly discovered. But maybe very close to being almost discovered."
When aspiring actress Annabel sees the movie company vans roll into her neighborhood, she is determined that this will be her big break. With her friend Maggie by her side, Annabel


Maggie's mouth dropped open. "I don't believe it. You got discovered?" "Well," Annabel said, "maybe not exactly discovered. But maybe very close to being almost discovered."
When aspiring actress Annabel sees the movie company vans roll into her neighborhood, she is determined that this will be her big break. With her friend Maggie by her side, Annabel schmoozes her way onto the set and lands a role as an extra! She stays up all night watching scary movies and screaming at the top of her lungs to practice for her part. However, when the day of shooting arrives, everything goes wrong and Annabel's five seconds of stardom turn into a disaster. But her career's not over yet. Annabel doesn't know it but the director has some tricks up his sleeve...Annabel's mishaps will have readers laughing out loud in this follow-up to Annabel the Actress starring in Gorilla My Dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In the follow-up to Gorilla of My Dreams, Annabel discovers a movie, The Day After Doom, is being filmed right in her own town. Determined to be an extra, she practices terror in front of the mirror, watches terror on old movies, and manages to get near to the casting director. She stages a fright attack, is seen by the star, and given a chance to get a speaking part, or rather a screaming part. When she sees the final product, she is indeed in the movie but not quite in the way she had wished. Still, it's a start. Pure fantasy and wish fulfillment, the story nonetheless satisfies with crisp dialogue, characters who behave believably, and a small gloss on movie making. Annabel isn't paid, however, which probably violates someone's rules about child exploitation but it never comes up in the story. Renee Andriani's zippy black-line drawings add something to every page and make this an inviting read for second and third grade would-be actors. 2000, Simon & Schuster, Ages 7 to 10, $15.00. Reviewer: Susan Hepler—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 2-3-In this series installment, young Annabel doesn't just sit around waiting for her first big break. When she learns that a famous director is shooting some movie scenes in her hometown, she's sure she will be "discovered." Desperate to be noticed among all of the wanna-be extras, she fakes a fainting fit and is assisted by one of the stars. Once in front of the camera, she handles the work well. When the movie is shown on TV, the final version of the scene surprises her, providing a lesson for her future film career. If something is missing from this story, it may be a sense of Annabel's maturation. She's so self-centered and engrossed in her acting career that she's an inadequate friend and tiresome daughter, and there's no sign of any growth in her character. Andriani's pen-and-ink illustrations follow the story closely while they break up the text.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Conford's (Crush, 1999, etc.) wit twinkles in her delightful new chapter book that chronicles the return of Annabel, the aspiring actress who is about to get her "Big Break." "I've been waiting to be discovered for years," the ten-year-old tells the director of Day After Doom, a television movie that plans to use local citizens as extras. The movie is a scary thriller and Annabel, who desperately wants to be cast, spends the night practicing her "screaming, choking and fainting" so loudly and convincingly that she drives her father from the living room and gives herself a headache and a sore throat. On the big day, Annabel, along with her best friend Maggie and Maggie's older brother, join the throngs of people waiting to be cast as well as those hoping to get a glimpse of actress Winona McCall, who is starring in the movie. When the high-spirited Annabel finds out that her acting job is not the sure thing she thought it was, she stages a scene of her own, winning for herself if not a speaking part, then at least a screaming one. Annabel is an appealing creation, sassy and sunny, and Conford gets plenty of comic juice out of her gung-ho off-center perspective. The book also has a good time poking gentle fun at the acting community—when the director asks Annabel if she's eight, for example, Annabel tells him that she's ten, but that she "dressed young." Enhanced by Andriani's charming black-and-white drawings, younger girls in search of a funny, fast-paced chapter book need look no further.(Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Annabel the Actress Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Friday Afternoon, Hudson Street

Annabel was an actress. She wasn't famous yet. She wasn't a star. But she knew someday she would be.

Meanwhile, she practiced her acting all the time.

Today on the way home from school, she stopped in the middle of the street. She turned to her best friend, Maggie. She put her hand over her eyes.

"I'm all alone," she moaned. "All, all alone."

"No, you're not," Maggie said. "I'm here."

"I am a pitiful orphan," Annabel insisted. She squeezed her eyes shut. She made a little sobbing sound.

"I have no mother and father. I haven't a friend in the world."

"You're acting, aren't you?" Maggie asked.

Annabel took her hand from her eyes.

"I was practicing Loneliness. Did you feel sorry for me?"

"Um — not very," Maggie had to admit.

"You're right," Annabel said. "I didn't really feel the loneliness."

"Maybe you need to suffer more," Maggie suggested.

"I think I'd rather just practice more," Annabel said.

They stopped at the corner of Hudson Street to wait for the walk signal.

Just as the light changed, a truck zoomed past them. It was white, with a tree painted on the side. The tree had round leaves, like silver dollars.

"Hey! Where's the fire?!" Maggie yelled as the truck sped off.

"I've seen that truck somewhere." Annabel stared after it as it screeched around the corner onto Central Avenue.

She closed her eyes, and tried to remember.

"Silver tree... Silver — " Her eyes snapped open.

"In the movies!" she said. "Silver Tree is a movie company!"

"What's a movie company doing here?" Maggie asked.

"Making a movie!"

Annabel shrieked so loud that the beagles who lived in the corner house started to howl.

"Why would anyone want to make a movie in Westfield?" Maggie wondered.

"They make movies in lots of places," Annabel said. She was so excited she couldn't stand still. "Not just in Hollywood."

She grabbed Maggie by the shoulders. "And sometimes they use regular, ordinary people!"

"Wow!" Maggie suddenly understood what Annabel was thinking. "You mean — "

"Yes!" Annabel shouted. "This could be it! My Big Break!"

She let go of Maggie's shoulders. She raced off down Hudson Street.

"Where are you going?" Maggie yelled.

She caught up with Annabel on Central Avenue.

They heard a loud engine behind them. A huge eighteen-wheeler rumbled past. A flatbed truck trailed after it. Both trucks had silver trees on their doors.

"I knew it!" Annabel cried. "Follow those trucks!"

The two trucks continued down Central Avenue. They stopped across from the Westfield Shopping Plaza, right near the entrance to Memorial Park.

When Annabel saw what was happening on Central Avenue, she froze. She clutched Maggie's hand.

"Pinch me," she said. "I think I must be dreaming."

Text Copyright © 2000 by Ellen Conford

Meet the Author

Ellen Conford is one of the most popular authors of contemporary novels for preteen and teen readers. Her previous books include the Jenny Archer series, Felicia the Critic, Frog Princess of Pelham, and A Night to Remember. She lives in Great Neck, New York.

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