From the Publisher
"Told with gentle, quirky, child-friendly humor."School Library Journal
[star] "Good counsel for those consigned to the wings and not the footlights."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The Barnes & Noble Review
The sweet-natured star of Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book takes center stage in a fabulous encore from author-illustrator Alexander Stadler.
When her teacher announces auditions for an upcoming musical, Beverly is tickled pink. But when the big day rolls around, she winds up with a case of stage fright and ends up cast in two tiny roles with only one speaking line. Disappointed at first, Beverly soon throws herself into the play by learning all the lines, helping build the set, and making cupcakes for intermission. Then, on opening day, the lead actress gets performance jitters, and helpful Beverly steps in as prompter to make the play a success.
A command performance that's right-on with its clever artwork and positive message, Stadler's book -- like Beverly's gig -- gets two thumbs up. Matt Warner
Beverly, who became a library patron in Stadler's Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book, makes an unprepossessing theatrical debut here. The little gray creature loves playing dress-up at home. She decides on an acting career and plans on singing in her school musical. But she bombs at her audition after counting "twenty-seven faces. That made fifty-four eyes staring at her and waiting." She can't utter a peep. Her theater teacher, a kindly lion, gives her "two parts-The Wall and The Shrub," and one spoken line. Despite her disappointment, Beverly makes the most of her supporting roles. She learns the play by heart and, disguised as background foliage, whispers a prompt when the nervous lead actress gets tongue-tied. Beverly's own stage fright seems to help her empathize with her rival, and she takes her bow with a beatific smile; Stadler, who draws in a pleasingly fumbling ink line with daubs of gouache, conveys her genuine contentment. His story's most convincing moments, including the resolution, happen among the animal-classmates, among them a calf, hippo and crocodile. Beverly's father gives her advice-"there are no small parts, only small actors"-which takes on a dual meaning when Beverly quashes her jealousy to help the star. Stadler's book echoes Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (But What About Dolores?), another piece of good counsel for those consigned to the wings and not the footlights. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Beverly, heroine of Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book, embarks on another adventure when she receives a trunkful of costumes for her birthday. Yearning to be an actress, she auditions for the school musical, Stormy Weather. Although she is too scared to sing, Beverly gets two parts— The Wall and The Shrub! It is a disappointment, but with helpful advice from her father—"There really are no small parts, only small actors"—she throws herself into the theatrical experience, doing everything from building sets to making cupcakes to sell at intermission. Young theater fans will rejoice as Beverly triumphs, both as a truly solid Wall and as a real trouper who saves the finale when the leading lady falters. A recent four-year-old listener delighted in the illustrations (ink and gouache with heavy black outlines and subtle colors inside), guessing at the identities of the imaginative animal characters and poring over the array of wonderful weather costumes as the cast takes its bow. There are lessons to be learned about hard work in the theater, about being a friend, and about the joy of a successful performance. Well-deserved applause for Beverly, her fellow performers, and author-illustrator, Alexander Stadler! 2003, Harcourt, Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-First introduced in Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book (Harcourt, 2002), the endearing animal is back, this time excited about upcoming auditions for the school play. However, despite her energetic practicing and emoting, when the day comes she freezes and ends up playing a rock and a shrub. On opening night, Beverly rescues the star performer, who falls victim to her own stage fright. The story is told with gentle, quirky, child-friendly humor, nicely matched by bright, cheerful, also quirky gouache-and-ink illustrations in mostly soft shades edged in black. Pair this with Cari Best's Shrinking Violet (Farrar, 2001) for a storytime that celebrates shyness, kindness, and resilience.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Beverly Billingsly is back (Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book, 2002), this time with a new venue for her worries: auditions for the school musical called Stormy Weather. Stadler again employs his distinctive illustration style of pastel watercolors with thick black outlines applied with a charmingly wobbly effect. His heavily outlined illustrations, animal characters, and confident use of sophisticated vocabulary recall the work of William Steig, with a similar success in conveying an amusing, original story with an unobtrusive theme tucked inside. Because Beverly freezes during her audition, she's cast in two very small roles (as The Wall and The Shrub) with just one line, but she finds plenty to do in preparation for the production: learning all the lines of the play, building sets, making costumes and a banner, and baking 200 cupcakes. Busy beaver Beverly also saves the play with some judicious prompting when The Thunder Queen forgets her lines, and the final page shows Beverly in her shrub costume savoring the sweet sound of applause. Stadler succeeds in both his amusing illustrations and his well-paced, polished story, and surely Beverly will be back for an encore, perhaps baking brownies, buying a bicycle, or building a bridge as she conquers new fears.