Sunday, October 30, 2016

PICTURE BOOK - Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco

Illustrated by the author
2014, G.P. Putnam's Sons
HC $17.99 Borrowed from TPPL
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.16  (234 ratings)
My rating: 4
Endpapers: Solid Red

Dedication:  In loving memory of Thomas Wayne and Joseph Tranchina

Preface:  "It was another September.  All new classes, and a teacher I already knew I was going to live - my English teacher, Mr. Tranchina.  He was funny and really cool!  He woke something up in me.  By the third week I was reading like a crazy person -- more than I ever had -- and writing, poems and stories and essays.
     But then one day he asked us to read an essay on our families in front of the whole class."

1st line/s:  "My worst nightmare had come true when, after a few days of school, Mr. Tranchina asked me to read my essay out loud."

My comments:  I wonder if Patricia Polacco has journals she kept from her childhood and young adult years?  Her memories seem so strong!  However, even with a flickering memory, a clever writer can embellish the remembered details and craft a story...and Polacco is the master of this.  So many of her wonderful picture books are based on her own memories, and here's another.  
     I love the idea that PEOPLE can be masterpieces, which is the premise of this story - taking a very shy girl and teaching her how to come out of herself on stage, and ultimately speaking in front of a very large crowd.
     This is a great model for teaching writing to kids, AND for kids with stage fright.

Goodreads:  In this inspiring true story, beloved artist Patricia Polacco conquers her fear of public speaking, allowing her to discover her remarkable voice. A wonderful companion to Thank You, Mr. Falker and The Art of Miss Chew, it celebrates the lifelong impact of a great teacher.
        Speaking in front of an audience terrifies Trisha. Ending up in Mr. Wayne’s drama class is the last thing she wants! But Mr. Wayne gives her a backstage role painting scenery for the winter play. As she paints, she listens to the cast rehearse, memorizing their lines without even realizing it. Then, days before opening night, the lead actress suddenly moves away, and Trisha is the only other person who knows her part. Will the play have to be canceled? It won’t be an easy road—when Trisha tries to recite the lines in front of the cast, nothing comes out! But Mr. Wayne won’t let her give up, and with his coaching, Trisha is able to become one of his true masterpieces.

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