A Is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A to Z

Doubleday. Nov. 2019. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525645405.
K-Gr 4–As in traditional alphabet books, each page features a single letter; beyond that, Allman takes liberties with the format. Some pages highlight one actress; others examine two or more. F is for Fosse, the famed choreographer, but the accompanying illustration includes four actresses, two who have played Velma and Roxie in Chicago. S is for Sutton Foster, tap-dancer extraordinaire, but also for Stephen Sondheim. Some letters correspond to characters such as Dolly (Hello, Dolly) and Rose (Gypsy). In an effort to be inclusive, X is for 32 additional “eXtra-eXceptional” divas. Allman lists the full name of the actress, the musical in which she starred, and the year she performed that role at the bottom of each page. After Liza with a “Z,” Allman elaborates with short bios of everyone mentioned, citing additional roles, talents, and awards bestowed. The digitally crafted portrait-style illustrations focus on the women in costume, with bright colors and distinct lines. Occasional background details suggest settings or include props but leave the ladies in the spotlight.
VERDICT The simple, rhyming text and cartoon illustrations will entice young readers. Theater aficionados will also get a kick out of this catalogue of leading ladies and the conversations it will inspire. A sure hit for thespians of all ages.

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