By: Terry John Barto
Illustrated by: Mattia Cerato
Publication Date: August 2014
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 2015
Anamazie Marie LaBelle is a turkey! No, not that kind of turkey – she’s a real, live, clucking turkey and she also happens to be one of the best, if not THE best majorettes that has ever performed in her small town of Gobbleville. Anamazie loves the spotlight and she hopes that one day it will lead her right to Gollywood, home of famous celebrities and the movies they make. Will her dream come true?
Anamazie’s talent as a majorette has propelled her all the way to the finals of "Gobbleville’s Got Talent" (an homage, no doubt, to "America’s Got Talent"). Arriving with her mom Henrietta Pearl to cheer her on, Anamazie has her makeup done and then struts on stage. She performs a medley of patriotic songs as she dances around. The audience loves her but when the winner is announced Anamazie is heartbroken to hear another turkey’s name called. With tears in her eyes, she heads backstage to get some hugs from her mother.
While it might seem that Anamazie’s dreams are dashed, things take a drastic turn for the better when a man, er...turkey, from the audience approaches. It seems Mr. Albright is a talent scout and he thinks Anamazie just might be the perfect girl for his boss’s next movie. Will Anamazie’s dream of stardom come true?
This is the second book by author Terry John Barto that I’ve reviewed (see Nickerbacher: The Funniest Dragon) and it's just as enjoyable as Nickerbacher. While Gollywood, Here I Come! is Barto's first book, it has the same upbeat, fun, 'go for your dream!' message as Nickerbacher. In that story, a lovable dragon takes center stage and in this tale, I have to say that Anamazie’s mother, Henrietta, had me laughing throughout. She keeps a watchful eye out for her daughter and also manages to keep the reader smiling by doing such things as fainting at good news and falling out of a tree when hearing more good news. Beyond that, however, this tale of working hard for your dream and having it come true will resonate with many. It also teaches children that they too, should always go for their dreams. In addition, the illustrator, Mattia Cerato, is to be commended because his bright, colorful and lively drawings really bring this tale to life. Gollywood, Here I Come! is a 5-Star winner that your kids will love.
Quill says: A star is born and her name is Anamazie Marie LaBelle – don’t miss her debut!