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Amanda Lewis and Tim Wynne-Jones
Illustrated by Bill Slavin Toronto, Kids Can Press, 1994. 96pp, paper, ISBN 1-55074-148-9 (paper) $12.95
ISBN 1-55074-209-4 (cloth) $21.95. (Basics for Beginners). CIP

Subject Headings:
Theater-Juvenile literature.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616-Dramatic production-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-7 / Ages 7-12

Reviewed by Maryleah Otto

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

A big round of applause for Rosie! This is an excellent introduction to all the magic behind the scenes in a live play. The setting is the annual Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario. The authors weave a simple story about ten-year-old Rosie's theatrical misadventures into a factual account of the roles of the personnel of the Festival theatre as well as a bit of historical background on Shakespeare and the original Globe Theatre in England.

Rosie, whose mother works for the wardrobe mistress, has come to Stratford for the summer. Her eager efforts to be helpful usually draw disapproving comments from the problem-weary director, but her selfconfidence is quickly restored when a mysterious stranger whom no one else can see or hear turns out to be the Bard himself. The happy ending sees Rosie in the part of Macduff's son in Macbeth.

There's a real wealth of information here. All facets of theatrical production from the selection of a script to the seating of the audience on opening night are carefully, clearly and easily explained for young readers. The juxtaposition of fact and fiction isn't a problem. Either part can be read alone. Bill Slavin's colourful, realistic paintings are pleasantly full of detail.

Rosie Backstage is a must for classes going to a live theatre production, especially to the Stratford Festival. Teachers will use this book widely and students will enjoy it just for itself. Recommended for teachers of theatre arts in grades 2 to 6 and for independent reading in grades 3 to 7.

Maryleah Otto is a children's author and retired librarian in St. Thomas, Ontario

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