Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Review: Joan Stienman
Perhaps the short title of this book is indicative of its content in that a lot of the emphasis seems to be on Holly’s height. Holly was not sensitive about height until she became aware of her parents’ concern about her lack of growth.
Then Holly is made to go with her younger brother, Randy to audition for the Wizard of Oz. Randy has a beautiful voice so Holly is not surprised that he gets a part in this amateur production. But when Holly gets a part as a Munchin she is sure it is just because of her short stature as she believes she has no musical talent. Holly resents the heavy rehearsal schedule which keeps her from other things she wanted to do over the summer holidays. But then three adults with dwarfism join the production also as Munchins and Holly is mentored by one of these, Olive. During the summer Holly grows in confidence and comes to love the rehearsals so much that she is sad when it is over. Her role as a Munchin and her friendship with Olive installs in Holly a knowledge that her height doesn’t matter, it is what is within that is important.
Aimed at upper primary school age children, this story is important in relation to the message about Holly’s self-discovery and the importance of role models who can change our outlook completely. There is also a tenderness in the story through Holly’s grief for her dog Ramon and her attachment to old Mrs Chang up the road. Despite this serious undertone, this book is full of humour.
Holly is continually looking at sayings and analysing their real meaning with their literal meaning in a quaint way; like “break a leg”, “watch your back, “bookworm” and “grinning like Cheshire cats”. Do Cheshire cats really grin?