Starring in: Camping It Up (Annabel the Actress Series)


Annabel's dreams come true when she gets to work with a famous actor and lands a leading role in the big camp play. She's an expert at delivering bloodcurdling screams — and now she gets to do it onstage! But what will Annabel do when an unexpected visitor steals the spotlight and causes everyone else to scream?

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Annabel's dreams come true when she gets to work with a famous actor and lands a leading role in the big camp play. She's an expert at delivering bloodcurdling screams — and now she gets to do it onstage! But what will Annabel do when an unexpected visitor steals the spotlight and causes everyone else to scream?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Attending Camp Waverly for the Dramatic Arts could be just the break Annabel needed to be discovered and begin her true acting career. After all, the teachers were real actors and they would be presenting a professional production at the end of the summer. She was disappointed that she did not get a big part, but her lesser role gave her the opportunity to do what she did best: SCREAM. Children of the Doomed was a great horror story and bloodcurdling screams were important. On the night of the performance, Annabel had screamed her loudest and rescued the key from the evil Dr. Menniss who then let out a shriek that wasn't in the script. The camp garden snake was crawling up his leg. Thinking quickly, Annabel grabbed the snake, improvised an appropriate line, and exited the stage. The play went on and Annabel was a hero. Well defined characters and a fast moving plot will hold the interest of young readers. 2004, Simon and Schuster, Ages 6 to 8.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Annabel is back, and she is excited about attending Camp Waverly for the Dramatic Arts, where the teachers are professional actors. The instructor for her group is Sheridan Fell, a former horror-film star. While the students are initially disappointed with their "weird" and "old-fashioned" teacher, they work hard at their craft and put on a play, Children of the Doomed. Although Annabel does not get the part she wants, Sheridan is impressed with her talent for bloodcurdling screams and casts her in another role. On opening night, the camp snake makes an unscheduled appearance, and the girl boldly improvises to save the show. Predictably, a movie producer in the audience offers Fell a chance to star again in a remake of his old movie, and Annabel sees a potential gig in it as well. In this fourth installment in the series, the protagonist is resourceful, as usual, but without her usual flair, and the novel lacks the drama and conflict seen in the earlier books. Still, Annabel's fans will enjoy this light and fluffy story. Humorous line drawings appear throughout.-Alison Grant, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689847929
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Series: Annabel the Actress Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Act 1: A Happy Camper

Scene 1

Annabel was an actress. She wasn't a star yet, but she planned to be one by the time she grew up.

She practiced every day. She practiced feelings, like Angry or Joyful or Sad. She practiced characters, like Pitiful Orphan or Notorious Jewel Thief.

But today Annabel wouldn't be practicing. Today she would be going to Camp Waverly for the Dramatic Arts.

Four whole weeks of acting classes! With professional actors as her teachers! In a rustic woodland setting.

Annabel didn't care much about the rustic woodland setting. But acting all day was her dream come true.

When the camp bus stopped in front of her house, Annabel had been ready for an hour. She practically bounced up the bus steps.

There were plenty of empty seats, but she thought she might seem stuck-up if she sat alone. So she sat down beside a boy with curly black hair. He was writing in a large notebook.

"Hi," she said. "I'm Annabel."

The boy looked up for a moment. "Orson," he said.

"What are you writing?" Annabel asked.

"A play." He bent over his notebook again.

"Cool," Annabel said. "What's it called?"

"The Genius," said Orson. "It's autobiographical."

Annabel turned to look out the window. As they traveled along Route 70, she watched as the houses grew farther and farther apart.

At last she saw a sign on the right side of the road. It was made of narrow logs, and it hung from two wooden posts. It said CAMP WAVERLY FOR THE DRAMATIC ARTS.

"We're here!" Annabel yelled.

The bus bumped down a dirt path and stopped in a small, gravel parking area. Two other buses were already there. Kids were spilling out of them andrunning around the parking lot.

Her driver stopped and opened the bus door. Annabel practically exploded out of the bus.

Scene 2

Camp Waverly was laid out around a large, grassy meadow. Four open tents with green and white canopies stood at the edges of the meadow.

Some of the campers were already sitting on the grass in front of the biggest tent. Annabel and the other kids from her bus sat down behind them.

Eight people were sitting on white folding chairs under the tent. Annabel guessed they were the drama teachers.

A tall, white-haired woman stood up and cleared her throat.

"Welcome to Camp Waverly," she said. Her voice was deep and loud. Annabel wondered if she had been an actress herself.

"I am Brenda Waverly," she began. "Camp Waverly has been training young actors for thirty-one summers. Many of them have gone on to become successful performers."

Annabel perked up. Maybe agents and producers and directors knew about Camp Waverly. Maybe some of them visited the camp every summer, looking for new talent!

The campers were divided into three groups. Annabel and Orson were in the youngest group, the Beginners. Mrs. Waverly introduced the teachers for each group. She called them directors. There was also an assistant director for each group.

The directors for the Intermediates and Seniors led them to their tents.

Then Mrs. Waverly said, "Beginners, your director will be famed stage and screen star, Sheridan Fell."

"Who?" Orson whispered. "I've never heard of him."

"Me neither," said Annabel.

A tall, thin man stood up. He bowed slightly.

Annabel hadn't been able to see him well before. Now, as the Beginners gathered around him, Annabel could finally see him clearly.

His hair was long and white. His skin looked like crinkly yellow paper. He wore a red-and-white-striped shirt with long sleeves, and a red scarf around his neck. He had on loose, shiny black pants that looked like they might be pajama bottoms.

"And this is your assistant director, Sandi Marshall," Mrs. Waverly said.

A much younger woman in white shorts and a Camp Waverly T-shirt said, "Hi, everyone. Our tent is over there." She pointed. "Follow me."

Sandi led the way across the meadow. Mr. Fell and the campers trailed after her.

"He looks seriously weird," Orson whispered.

Annabel thought so too. But she didn't want to say it.

"Maybe he's just old-fashioned," she said.

Two kids from their bus were also in Annabel's group. One was a tall girl with shiny dark hair woven into braids. The other was a thin, pale boy whose clothes looked too big for him.

Under their tent was a long metal table and two rows of folding chairs. There were a pile of blue folders and a clipboard on the table.

"Let's see if we're all here." Sandi picked up the clipboard and began to read names.

"Lauren? Ardith? William? Sara? Annabel?"

Annabel looked around as the campers raised their hands. The tall girl from her bus was Ardith, and the pale boy was William.

"Melanie? Rachel? Nate? Orson?" Annabel tried to keep track of the names and faces as Sandi took attendance.

"Everyone's here." She put the clipboard back on the table.

"Fine!" said Mr. Fell. "And I am Sheridan Fell."

He smiled. He had long white teeth.

"Let's start acting," he said.

Scene 3

"First we'll do some exercises," Mr. Fell said. "I learned these when I was a young actor in the New York Drama Workshop."

"Wow," Annabel whispered to Orson. "That's a famous acting school."

"I know," Orson said. "Winona McCall went there."

Winona McCall was Annabel's favorite actress.

"Okay, everyone." Mr. Fell raised his arms. "Let's stretch. Up, up, up."

Annabel stretched her arms over her head.

"You're trying to touch the sky," he said.

Annabel reached toward a puffy white cloud. She imagined her body getting longer and longer.

"Now dig your feet into the ground," said Mr. Fell. "You're grabbing the ground with your feet. You can feel your toes growing roots. You feel the roots go deep into the earth."

A couple of the kids started to giggle. Annabel closed her eyes and pictured her toes growing roots, like a sweet potato plant in a jar. She felt her roots burrowing through the grass, down into the dirt.

"You touch the sky," Mr. Fell said. "But you're still in touch with the ground."

"I don't get it," the boy named Nate said.

"You don't have to get it," Mr. Fell said. "Just do it."

"Now I don't get it even more," said Nate.

Next Mr. Fell taught them square breathing.

"Breathe in to a count of four. Hold your breath to a count of four. Breathe out to a count of four."

Everyone inhaled and exhaled as Mr. Fell did.

"This is quite helpful to calm you down," he said. "If you're nervous, or you get stage fright, square breathing is just the right ticket."

"Why do they call it square breathing?" a girl named Sara asked. "You only do three things. So why don't they call it triangle breathing?"

"What a good question." Mr. Fell looked puzzled. "I have no idea."

Next all the kids paired off and sat on the grass opposite their partner.

"Look into each other's eyes," Mr. Fell said. "But don't say anything. You're listening. Just listening."

"Listening to what?" Nate asked.

"Listening to what your partner is saying."

"But we're not supposed to say anything," Nate said.

"That's right," said Mr. Fell. "But imagine that your partner is saying something. And listen very hard."

"I don't get it again," Nate said.

Ardith was Annabel's partner for the listening exercise. They sat on the ground with their legs stretched out. Annabel gazed into Ardith's eyes. For a long time they sat staring at each other, not moving.

I'm listening, Annabel told herself. I'm very interested in what Ardith is saying.

Just as Annabel was sure she could hear Ardith talking, she saw something moving next to her foot.

It was brown. It was shiny. It was wriggling.

"Gaaaah!" she screamed. "Snake! Snake!"

She scooted away on her backside until she banged into Sara.

"Snake?" Sara said.

"SNAKE?" Orson cried.

He jumped up from the grass and scrambled onto the metal table.

"Kill it!" he yelled. "Kill it!"

"Calm down," Sandi said. "It's probably just Brownie."

She peered down into the grass. "Yep," Sandi said. "It's Brownie. He's the camp snake."

"You have a camp snake?" Orson was still standing on the table.

"He's completely harmless," Sandi said. "He's here every year."

"Could you take him away?" Annabel said.

"Sure." Sandi picked up Brownie and held him with two hands. She carried him away from the tent toward the woods.

"Why should you be afraid of him?" Mr. Fell said. "He's one of God's creatures. He's part of nature."

Orson climbed down from the table. He scowled at Mr. Fell.

"I hate nature," he said.

Copyright © 2004 by Ellen Conford

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