LEADING LADIES by Marlee Matlin


Age Range: 8 - 10
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Megan Merrill would be satisfied to do any kind of solo for her fourth-grade class, even a polka, until her teacher and a musical-theater specialist team up to organize a musical version of The Wizard of Oz. There’s a fierce competition for the part of Dorothy, complicated by her best friend at camp vying for it, but Megan’s creativity and personality win her the part. Though Megan is a fully developed, likable character and is exciting, not everything is. Her family and friends are foils supporting her; their motivations are dim. When the Merrills’ new family dog, Solo, gets on stage as Toto, his ability to bark in rhythm to a comic musical routine is not believable despite intense short-term practice. Other characters, such as Cindy, who’ve been developed in the series, are shadowy here, so reading the series in order is recommended. It’s Megan and her feelings about being deaf in a mainstream world that offer insight to the majority of readers: Those who are hearing will understand more of the complexities of growing up deaf in a hearing society, and those who are deaf will recognize themselves. This rare glimpse into the life of a child growing up deaf is an invaluable contribution to juvenile fiction. Seeing Megan again in print as a fifth-grader would be a pleasure. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-689-86987-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2007


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