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Showing posts with label AuthorHouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AuthorHouse. Show all posts


Gollywood, Here I Come! (2014)

Written by Terry John Barto

Illustrated by Mattia Cerato

The book opens with an impressive and expansive panorama of the town of Gobbleville, filled with buildings of all shapes and sizes, swimming pools, taco huts, trucks and buses. In the far off distance, beneath the setting sun and a passing zeppelin, loom the large, white letters, “Gollywood!”

The artist, Mattia Cerato, specializes in maps when he's not illustrating stories, and this definitely seems right up his alley. 

From here, the scene zooms in on a parade marching down the main street. Anamazie Marie LeBelle is leading the Wattle View School Marching Band, tossing the baton high into the sky and imagining all the great things to come in her life! And no sooner is the parade over, than Anamazie has time only for a quick change of clothes before arriving at the theater for her next passionate calling, a patriotic tap dance on Gobbleville’s Got Talent!

 Thunderous applause roared from the audience as Anamazie landed in the splits and belted out the last note!


Gobbleville's Got Talent!
From there, the author charts Anamazie’s meteoric rise to fame, as she at lasts finds her way to Gollywood, securing the starring role in The Turkey and I, directed by the famous J.B. Tuttlebaum... with only a few bumps along the way.

“I can’t work with this!” her co-star, Jake Quigglemap shouts as he storms off the set, after Anamazie has messed up a scene.

"You will star in my next motion picture!"

"I can't work with this!"

But all is well that ends well, and end well it does. Anamazie gives an inspirational final adieu to her former classmates, “My mom says you can do anything if you work hard and never give up!” and then it’s back to her limo, away from the blinding flash of the paparazzi, and she’s back on her way to Gollywood!

As he did also with Nickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon, which I reviewed last time, the author Terry John Barto writes a story about a character finding their calling and following their dreams. 


Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon (2015)

Written by Terry John Barto

Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle


Nickerbacher is a dragon with bushy eyebrows who spends his days and nights lazing before a tall tower, guarding the fair maiden entrapped within, the set-up for many a standard fairy-tale. But Nickerbacher doesn’t want to be part of a standard fairy tale, he’d rather be out preforming stand-up comedy at a nightclub.

“Why did it take me forever to cross the road? Because I’m always a-draggin!”

But dragons don’t perform comedy. Dragons fight knights. Dragons breathe fire. Dragons do dragon-things.

“Every dragon has a duty to guard princesses!” growls his frowning father, a much larger dragon whose eyebrows aren’t even a tad bushy.

“But I want to tell jokes!” Nickerbacher pleads.

His father isn’t having it.
"You're not supposed to make people laugh, you're supposed to scare them!"

Nickerbacher seems resigned to this life when finally that other standard storybook trope, the brave knight, makes his appearance. His name is Prince Happenstance, and he has come to rescue the princess and to do battle!

Nickerbacher, however, has only one weapon in his arsenal. “I’m a comedian. I’ll slay you with laughter, Prince Fancypants!”

"Don't you think I'm funny?"

The art by Kim Sponaugle is fun and expressive. I liked the design of all of the characters. She creates a convincing-looking dragon that works as well in a medieval setting as he does even after he’s donned a loud bow tie and jacket, standing onstage before an audience of anachronistic theater-goers.

“You know what happened to the dragon whose dream came true?” he asks his adoring crowds. “He lived happily ever after.”

Hm… seems I recall hearing that line in a movie somewhere…  But perhaps this is a fairy tale after all!

"Ladies and gentlemen, the Comedy Castle presents...."

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