Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Short


Title: Short
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Penguin Teen

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive - one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins - and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn't want to fade into the background and it's a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

Mood Board for Short

When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to our district's high school to see The Wizard of Oz. Even though I'd already seen the movie, I was excited to see a musical version. To this day, I still remember it, and can't wait to see it on stage again.

Because of this, I thought it would be fun to create a mood board based on a production of The Wizard of Oz. Below, you'll see pictures that I found on Pinterest that I think capture the fun and hard work that goes into a stage production.

My Review

Meet Julia Marks. She's your average preteen, except for one thing - her height. She's the shortest kid in her grade, so she's used to being in the front for class pictures. She's used to sometimes having a hard time with tasks that people of average height can do easily. But all of that changes when Julia auditions for The Wizard of Oz, and finds herself playing a munchkin. Soon, she finds out there's a lot more to her than her lack of height, and she discovers that being short isn't so bad afterall.

Short is definitely not short on characters. Readers will find themselves meeting new and fascinating characters every few pages, and when they've finally met all of them, they will be captivated by their stories and lives.

Julia Marks steals the show. She's one of those preteens who probably doesn't even realize that she's wise beyond her years, but  her humor and inquistive nature make her seem more like an adult trapped in a kid's body.

Julia also meets some interesting people during her summer in the theater. Her new friend Olive has dwarfism, but Julia doesn't really think anything of it. She just likes Olive for who she is, and thinks that it's really cool to have an adult friend. During Julia's summer, she also meets and befriends her neighbor, Mrs. Chang. But the best of all of the people Julia meets has to be the play's director, Shawn Barr. He's intense about theater, but his strange ways really capture Julia's interests and open a new world to her.

What I really enjoyed about Short was that the plot was fairly simple. It's just a cute contemporary middle grade novel, but what it lacks in twists and turns, it makes up for with the simpler things in life. Julia's story is not a boring one. The saddest thing that really happens in this book happens before the book even begins, and Julia needs to find a way to cope with it. I found her ways of remembering charming and real, and they are emotions that any young child would feel if they are in Julia's shoes. It's just a very realistic story about a growing girl and her summer of a lifetime.

The writing in Short is perfect for a middle grade novel. Holly Goldberg Sloan really knows how to write for her audience because any young reader would have a hard time putting this book down for even a minute. (I know I did!) It's simple when it needs to be, but seeing the world through Julia's eyes is just as magical as any trip down the Yellow Brick Road.

Every once in a while a tale comes along that enchants readers in the most magical ways. Very rarely do these enchanting stories also entertain and teach. Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan is one of those books. With an adorable protagonist and a fun plot, Short warms the heart in the best ways. I would recommend this novel for young readers in grades five through seven and to anyone who enjoyed Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood
living in Holland; Istanbul, Turkey; Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, California; and Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Wellesley College, she began writing and directing family feature films, including Angels in the Outfield and Made in America. Her first middle-grade novel, Counting by 7s, is a New York Timesbestseller. Holly lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California.

Follow the Tour

Week One:
1/30 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Oz Fashion Board
1/31 – YA Book Central – Guest Post
2/1 – The Hardcover Lover – Review + Mood Board
2/2 – Cracking the Cover – Interview
2/3 – Marie’s Must Reads – Guest Post

Week Two:
2/6 – Ms. Yingling’s Reads – Review
2/7 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Guest Post
2/8 – Crafty Moms Share – Review
2/9 – Germ Magazine – Interview
2/10 – The Five Fish -- Review

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