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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Drama is a funny, affecting look at what it takes to put on a middle school musical. The story emphasizes the need for teamwork, both on stage and backstage. Some readers may be uncomfortable with the graphic novel's depiction of homosexual crushes between young teens, but the author treats the subject with discretion and there's no depiction of romantic contact between members of the same sex. One male character is forthrightly gay, while another seems uncertain about his sexuality. In one scene, a boy playing the part of a girl kisses another boy.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Seventh-grader Callie's passion for theater is expressed through her work backstage, rather than by aiming for the spotlight. When her middle school prepares a production of the musical Moon Over Mississippi, Callie has ambitious ideas for building the sets so that the play is Broadway-worthy. But the reality of a small budget, unimpressive ticket sales, and a fractious backstage crew threaten to puncture Callie's dream. Add in a series of romantic misunderstandings, and Callie has her hands full.
Is it any good?
Written with affection and humor, DRAMA captures the excitement and chaos of producing an ambitious school musical. Author-illustrator Raina Telgemeier creates an engaging cast of diverse personality types and sets up engaging conflicts for them to resolve. Her depiction of same-sex crushes in middle school may make some readers uncomfortable, but the issue is handled with subtlety and sensitivity.
Telgemeier's cartoony artwork has the humor and expressiveness of an "Archie" comic in its prime, but with a slightly younger -- and more diverse -- cast of characters. (Although more distinctive features or wardrobes for brothers Jesse and Justin might have provided some welcome narrative clarity.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the graphic novel format. How is it effective in telling the story of Drama?
Does Drama give you a good idea of what it takes to stage an ambitious school musical? Does this book make you want to work on a school production?
Why is it sometimes difficult to try new activities? What prevents kids from exploring unfamiliar social circles?
- Author: Raina Telgemeier
- Illustrator: Raina Telgemeier
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Graphix
- Publication date: September 1, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.