STARRED REVIEW
April 01, 2017

A meta tale about a boy’s quest to save a theater

By Rebecca Donnelly

Rebecca Donnelly’s debut novel is a treat on many levels. The format, prose style and story are all appealing, making this middle grade book a solid read for audiences of all ages.

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Rebecca Donnelly’s debut novel is a treat on many levels. The format, prose style and story are all appealing, making this middle grade book a solid read for audiences of all ages.

The hero of the story, Sidney Camazzola, is a middle schooler with dreams of one day becoming a play director. He and his family are deeply involved with the Juicebox, the local children’s theater. But the theater is in danger of closing due to lack of funds, so Sidney and his pal Folly King must come up with a plan to save it.

As Sidney tells the story directly to the reader, he explains how he has designed the tale in the form of a play. There are three acts, scene changes and cast lists as Sidney builds the drama. The antics of the characters are funny and sincere enough without the play construct, but this format allows readers to understand Sidney while encouraging appreciation for theater as art. The laugh-out-loud moments are tempered by heartfelt character development, as Sidney discovers truths about himself and tries to direct the story to a satisfying conclusion. A fun read from opening scene to final curtain, How to Stage a Catastrophe will be a favorite for many years.

 

Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through 8th level Catholic school.

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How to Stage a Catastrophe

How to Stage a Catastrophe

By Rebecca Donnelly
Capstone
ISBN 9781623708078

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