Just Grace, Star on Stage
Written and Illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper
This is the ninth book in the Just Grace series, but readers coming fresh to this book may find the title mystifying: who is Just Grace? Has the name been switched around, or is Just short for Justine? No. There are four girls named Grace in the class. Something has to be done. The teacher is confused. A short cartoon explains the teacher’s solution, and how our heroine became Just Grace.
The book is written as a chapter book, but interspersed between the paragraphs are cartoon that are sure to attract first and second grade readers. The book is a cross between a comic book and a chapter book, with bold headlines cluing the reader to what is happening, and what will follow. For beginning readers they are good comprehension aids.
Grace is a charming protagonist — involved in her class activities, understanding of her classmates and a good friend. The teacher announces that their class is going to stage a play. What excitement! Grace would like the lead role, as would Marta. But, subtly stated, not all the children want to be the lead. There are some happy to be supporting actors and actresses. The book has many such life lessons easily woven into the fabric of the story. They are not presented as lessons (a sure put off for any reader), but can be great discussion points.
The choice of roles comes as a surprise. Marta is chosen to be the fairy queen, Grace is the narrator, and Sam is the king. However, there is many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip. Things do not go as planned, and Grace ends up playing the lead role in saving the play and the day.
Author Bio: http://www.hmhbooks.com/books/justgrace/author.html
Audio and Video Podcast: http://www.hmhbooks.com/books/justgrace/podcasts.html#