The unique Chamelia is back, but this time her antics and loud outfits aren’t enough to make her the center of attention, a position that has been stolen by the new kid in school, Cooper.
The chameleon diva is singing and dancing through her rendition of her summer vacation for her enraptured classmates when Mrs. Knight introduces the interloper. Not only is this the end of her show, it is the end of Chamelia as the standout in class. His portraits have the other kids clamoring to be drawn in art, his team wins at soccer, and his after-school games enthrall everyone—except Chamelia, who’s not used to coming in second place in anything. Finally, Chamelia decides that his run needs to end: She sabotages his show-and-tell presentation. But when her plan works too well, “[s]uddenly, being the best felt the worst,” and she changes her attitude and actions to “show the class what it really meant to be a star.” As in her eponymous first outing (2011), Long makes Chamelia, and now Cooper as well, pop off the pages with collaged, fabric-patterned clothing, in contrast to the other chameleons’ solid, pastel outfits. His characters are expressive to the nth degree, their eyes (and eyelids) and mouths showing emotion, while their body language leaves no doubt as to their feelings—Chamelia’s upturned snout speaks volumes.
Giving up the starring role isn’t easy, but readers may appreciate Chamelia’s example. (Picture book. 4-7)