Written by Nathaniel Hobbie, illustrated by Jocelyn Hobbie
Little, Brown and Company; $16.99
32 pp.; ISBN 9780316013864
Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews
More than just a pretty face, the eponymous Priscilla learns to revel in what she's got, not what she didn't get in this charming addition to the Priscilla series, Priscilla Superstar! Looking for a new hobby, Priscilla considers the debate team, sewing, swimming, and cooking, but none of them are a good fit. Turns out that it's seeing the uber-fabulous Rollerina on stage that really ignites her passion -- for roller skating. And so Priscilla and her friend Bettina sign up at L'Ecole Rolleret, where they do their best to skate their way to stardom. The school is preparing a production of Rollerina, and Priscilla is sure that she'll get the part. She eats, sleeps, lives, and breathes skating; she practices and practices and practices. But when the roles are awarded, Priscilla is crushed to find out she's been cast not as the Princess, but the Wind.
It takes a heart-to-heart with Bettina ("What about me? You really lucked out. I play the Tree.") for Priscilla to realize that there is an upside to playing the Wind -- after all, as Bettina points out, the Wind is on stage for the entire production. And so Priscilla decides to make the best of it and perform as the best wind she knows how to be -- and finds that princess or not, on that stage, she feels like a star. And that's all that matters.
This sweet, self-affirming story addresses such heavyweight issues as hard work and discipline, envy and disappointment -- just like any young reader is likely to face in his or her own life -- with a gentle hand, encouraging readers to see the bright side of Priscilla's problem.
Nathaniel Hobbie does a great job of conveying emotion; through his creative and skillful rhyming verse, it's so easy for young readers to empathize with Priscilla's anticipation and excitement of starting roller skating lessons, her disappointment at not landing the choice role in the production, and her eventual pride in a job well done.
Priscilla Superstar! is the third book starring Priscilla. The series is a collaboration of brother and sister Nathaniel and Jocelyn Hobbie. Like the two before it (Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise! and Priscilla and the Pink Planet!), this title maintains Priscilla's plucky personality and affirms that that she's worthy of joining the other one-name book characters -- Eloise and Olivia. (I shudder to think of the three of them in a room together, actually -- all that personality!) Little girls will either want to be her, or be her friend. And what's not to love? Priscilla is ambitious, hard working, kind, and comfortable in her own skin.
Jocelyn Hobbie's light and bright artwork matches the written text beautifully, both in style and tone. With fluid brushstrokes, she highlights the motion of skating: rolling, spinning, twisting, and turning. While Priscilla Superstar! isn't a little girls' story per se, the pages and pages of swirly girly pink will have most young girls especially reaching hand over fist for Priscilla, imagining themselves as the glamorous roller skating stars.
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