This wordy debut picture book by Barto features veteran illustrator Cerato’s fantastic illustrations of ducks, chickens and turkeys searching for great new talents.
Young chick Anamazie Marie LaBelle is not just the youngest marching band majorette in Gobbleville history, she’s also a finalist in Gobbleville’s Got Talent. She participates in the finals with the help of her mother, Henrietta Pearl, whose interest in her daughter’s fame is as dramatic as one would expect from a participant on a reality show (and her musical education apparently derived from reality show sources, given her use of terms like “pitchy”). But despite her natural talents, Anamazie loses the competition to Edith Winkmeyer. Luckily, a Gollywood Pictures agent is more impressed with Anamazie’s performance, and she’s whisked off to a screen test. From there, it’s all smooth sailing. Anamazie rehearses her lines, dresses in costumes and learns how to work well with temperamental stars. (Her mother, still full of excitement and eager to interfere, has to be dragged off the sound stage by security roosters.) Of course, the little chicken is a hit, and she’s ready for more adventures by the end of her first movie. Anamazie is a perfect star, and her few flaws are easily forgiven, but it’s hard to imagine her actually striving for anything, despite her earnest statement: “My mom says you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.” The delightful illustrations, which add to the text’s poultry jokes, are sure to appeal to a young, lap-sitting crowd. Newly independent readers may struggle with the length, but the vocabulary is manageable and full of familiar, glamorous, Hollywood-type phrases (“Sweetheart, your co-star is getting his feathers ruffled when you back him out of the shot”).
A school-to-screen fairy tale with little conflict or character development that’s enriched by the eye-catching cartoon illustrations.