What It Is About: Julia is short, doesn't want to be short, gets cast in a play to be short, and learns that being short is a very TALL order; but is ready to tackle this challenge. When summer begins Julia thinks it will be like any other summer. She is mourning the loss of her beloved dog, but is determined to make it a great summer despite this. When her mother suggests/insists that she and her younger brother audition for the local production of The Wizard of Oz, she isn't thrilled. Julia is even more frustrated when she learns that she and her brother will be cast as munchkins in the play. She is trying to get "away" from her shortness and now she her height is the focal point of her being in the play. Julia can't really sing, can't really dance, but of course is just the right "size" for the part. In the beginning she isn't thrilled about this prospect, but as rehearsals continue Julia gets to know the "famous" director, an adult female dwarf, and an elderly neighbor lady; all of whom open her world to the endless possibilities that life has to offer all people. No matter their height.
What I Thought Of It: I try not to compare novels by the same author and just look at them as individual works. As I mentioned, Counting by 7's, is one of my favorite middle-grade stories and has a distinguished place on my hardcover shelf in my classroom. Coming into this story, I had HIGH expectations. I would say overall, those expectations were met. This fictional tale completely entertained me the entire read. Julia was a unique, special, and LARGER than life character. I so enjoyed how she conquered her demons about her height, tackled some of her fears, and began to see the world with a whole new set of eyes. Goldberg's characters of the director, the female dwarf, and the neighbor lady all added greatly to Julia's journey. There were some slow "moving" aspects of the plot, but as an adult reader I was able to plow through these sections. I hope the same will be true of the younger reader.
Who Should Read It: In my opinion this is definitely a novel for the female reader. I think a strong reader in graders four and/or five would be able to handle the novel with no issues. The book would probably be perfect for readers in grades six and/or middle-school. If you know of a girl that is "into" theater, plays, or movies; then this is the book for them. Wizard of Oz fans would also be a great audience for this newest book. Happy Reading!
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars