JESSE AND ABE by Rachel Isadora


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A backstage view of show biz in the '20s, in shimmering, smudgy, impressionistic black and white. Jesse is the stage-struck little boy--and his views of the performers catch both their unglamorous backstage reality and their spotlit pizazz--and Abe, his grandfather, is a man-of-all-functions, called upon to listen to the comedian's new joke, fix a chorus girl's plumed headdress, or catch a runaway animal. One Saturday Abe fails to show up, and though the show will undoubtedly go on, the performers are at a loss without him. Is he sick, or dead, one wonders--but no. ""My back axle broke, just as I drove out of the barn. I had a long wait for the trolley."" Unnecessarily, as they walk to the trolley after the show, Jesse says ""I'm glad we're friends, Grandpa."" The warmth is too deliberately laid on to enfold readers, and the story is deficient in action. But as usual Isadora succeeds in projecting an atmosphere around the stage, and as usual this speaks to the eye in its own way, not as a repeat or variation of a past success.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1981
Publisher: Greenwillow