By: Laurie Friedman
Illustrator: Jennifer Kalis
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Mallory McDonald and Mary Ann Winston, next door neighbors, a.k.a. best friends for life since they were born, were having problems. Every time Mallory even looked at Mary Ann she was making like she was invisible and looked the other way. They were in Mr. Knight’s fourth-grade classroom and nasty, nosy Arielle and Danielle knew there was something special going on and wouldn’t even think of telling Mallory, Mary Ann, and Joey. They would just have to wait until class started. Things were like that at Fern Falls Elementary, but when class started they’d all know about the big surprise.
It wasn’t long before the whole world knew that the school was putting on a musical called “Annie” and auditions would start the next week. Everyone was wildly interested and started asking questions, including Pamela Brooks, Mallory’s “good friend and desk mate from last year.” The only one who wasn’t interested was Mary Ann. Now that gal was always interested in everything. Of course at lunchtime snobby, snotty Arielle and Danielle thought they would get great parts and she wouldn’t. Mallory, Girl #1 with “red hair, bangs, and lots of freckles” was “super excited” and Mary Ann, Girl #2 with “curly blonde hair” could not care less. Whatever. What was WRONG with her?
Mallory’s brother Max said, “he’d practically gone deaf listening to [her] singing for the past week,” but admitted she “sounded pretty good.” Mary Ann was like a total stiff when she tried out, but it was so weird because she was “always excited about everything.” Mallory, of course, was great and each time some “not-so-good kid” auditioned she felt her chances were better. When the cast list was posted on Friday you know who (Girl # 1) got the LEAD! But wait a minute, check that list again. Mary Ann didn’t get a single part. Even April got to play an orphan. What on earth was wrong with that girl? If Mallory thought things were bad then she was in for a surprise. Was she going to lose her best friend over some little production? Would the show be able to go on without her?
If you already think you like Mallory McDonald, you’re going to adore her in her latest “production.” They ain’t misbehaving (well maybe Mallory does a little), but there sure are a lot of misunderstandings in this one. If you’ve read any in the Mallory series before you know that both she and Mary Ann detest the two charm queens (not) Arielle and Danielle. Just a bit of a teaser: Mallory really thinks they like her! Enough said on that score, but if you are a Mallory fan, this is one of the best yet. Try as I might, I just couldn’t figure out why Mary Ann was ignoring her best friend for life since they were born. It was a BIG surprise. Let’s just see how good you are . . . do you think you can solve the mystery?
Quill says: If you like a little bit of jealousy, anger, tears, and drama in your reading, this “production” is a sure fire pleaser. Just turn down the lights, open the curtain, and get ready for another great adventure with Mallory McDonald and friends!