Monday, December 3, 2018
MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY: LULU, THE BROADWAY MOUSE by Jenna Gavigan
What It's About:
Ratatouille meets Broadway in this charming new middle grade novel about a little mouse with big dreams.
Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway's Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn't be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She's a little girl mouse.
When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne's guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently than we imagined; sometimes they come with terms and conditions (aka the company mean girl, Amanda). But sometimes, just when we've given up all hope, bigger and better dreams than we'd ever thought could come true, do.
"Not to brag (well, this is my story so if I'm going to brag this is the place to do it, right?) but my house is the most beautiful, most magical, most jaw-droppingly fabulous place in the world. (If I'm going to brag, I may as well full-out brag, right?)
What I LOVED About It:
Can you hear it from the opening lines? Little Ms. Lulu has a lot of sass. Voice, people! So important. Also, I am a total drama dad, with two kids you are immersed in theater (oldest is about to finish college with a theater degree, and the middle guy's life revolves around the stage. Youngest is into sports, so you can't win 'em all.)
But, you say, the narrator's a mouse! Look, kids, I used to not be a fan of animal narrators--but the more middle grade I read, the more accepting I get. The cool thing is that the stars of the Broadway stage are so accepting of "Tiny" and her Broadway dreams.
Lulu's family lives in the Shubert Theater (a Broadway theater in real life) and Lulu is stage-struck. I love all the allusions to Broadway shows she weaves into her narration, as well as the insights into putting on a show. The story ends on a high note (no spoilers here!) I would whole-heartedly recommend this to each and every kid who loves to perform--as well as those readers who embrace animal stories. I unequivocally LOVED it.
About the Author:
Jenna Gavigan, a fourth generation New Yorker, grew up dreaming of Broadway. At age sixteen she made her Broadway debut in Gypsy, opposite Bernadette Peters. Since then she's appeared in a half-dozen films, on more than a dozen television shows, and on east and west coast stages, most recently Off-Broadway in the world premiere of Straight. Jenna graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Creative Writing, where she focused on fiction, television, and screenwriting. She lives in a teeny tiny Manhattan apartment with her husband, Kevin. This is her first novel.
Find Jenna online at IamJennaGavigan.com and on Twitter and Instagram @Jenna_Gavigan.