There's a girl out there named Julia Marks.  She's short for her age and she has just lost her dog...he died... he didn't just pass away.  His name was Ramon.  

Julia's mother is about to make her try out for the summer stock production of THE WIZARD OF OZ.  Now Julia doesn't have a great winning streak in the world of the arts.  She was fired by her piano teacher and her ballet career was doomed from the start.  But, her mom needs Julia to try out so she can make one stop everyday to drop Julia and her younger brother, Randy, off to do something productive.  

To Julia's utter amazement she gets a role as a Munchkin and gets to be a winged monkey..not a flying monkey mind you... too.  

This summer is going to be an amazingly eye-opening couple of months for Julia who is expecting nothing of the kind.  Julia is a scrapbook kind of girl.  She collects all kinds of little tangible souvenirs of her life experiences and glues them into her scrapbook.   She misses the comfort and the company of Ramon.  He was a dog who understood.

Life in its wily wisdom is going to start serving up little wake up moments for nicknamed Baby by her fellow cast members.  She's going to make a dear friend of Olive, a dwarf, a little person, who has a huge heart and a huge smile.  She's going to meet Mrs. Chang who lives down the street and turns out to be an world-class seamstress who can make winged monkey costumes without even being asked.  

All summer long Julia is coming to terms with being short.  Her small size wins her the Munchkin prize and makes it possible for her to squeeze through the dog door at her house when they're locked out.  Should she grow bigger or should she wish to be "Baby" for the rest of her days?

Julia is one of the least selfconscious characters you've met in a long, long time.  She opens her mouth and things come out that she wishes she could pull right back in.  She's written with a deadpan humor that will take you by surprise and keep you turning the pages.  Where is she headed?  What will happen to her next?  It's a deftly woven, fast-paced, equal parts hilarious and touching. 

Let's go find Ramona, Ivy and Bean and Franny K. Stein and tell them there's a new girl in town and they are going to want to know her.  

Very approachable and truly delightful.  We needed her and we didn't even know it.

296 pages  Ages 8-12   9780399186219

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

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