How To Stage a Catastrophe

256p. ebook available. Capstone. Apr. 2017. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781623708078.
Gr 4–6—Sidney loves working behind the scenes at the Juicebox, the local children's theater, but when the Juicebox faces financial difficulties, Sidney and his friends try to find a way to keep the lights on. Initial ideas such as a karaoke machine, a variety show, and better concessions don't do the trick. A fortuitous coincidence provides the kids with the material to blackmail a local businessman. Can they take the high road and still save their beloved theater, or will they stoop to unsavory means? None of the characters are particularly fleshed out, and several secondary characters serve the plot only once and are not brought up again, making them difficult to place in the story. The narrative races around several unlikely scenarios that will keep readers laughing and guessing until the improbable conclusion. There's plenty of fun to be had in this tale, if not cohesion. Still, readers with an affinity for theater may enjoy this peppy outing.
VERDICT An additional purchase where books such as Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead's "Jack & Louisa" series and Tim Federle's Better Nate Than Ever fly off the shelves.

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