A terrific introduction to the staging of a play. The Night Owl Theater is comprised of thespians who happen to be animals, and they are staging Cinderella in a month's time. Hayes familiarizes readers with casting and read-throughs, the prop and costume shops, lighting and sound engineers, dress rehearsals, and opening night. She peppers the text with the jargon of the theater without turning it into a vocabulary lesson, and in the process concocts a fabulous bestiary: A bespectacled bear is the old-soul director (""Don't worry, kids. A bad dress rehearsal means good luck on opening night,""), an anteater cranks out publicity material, a hyena hammers, and a badger paints scenery. The excitement gathers as the big night approaches--a performance that appears in a four-panel gatefold--depicted with grace and humor in Thompson's wry, affectionate watercolors. Not only a painless overview of theatrical presentations, it's also quietly inspiring--readers will be tempted to stage a production of their own.