Short
Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive - one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins - and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn't want to fade into the background and it's a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

Short Details

TitleShort
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 31st, 2017
PublisherDial Books
ISBN0399186212
ISBN-139780399186219
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Humor, Plays, Theatre, Fiction, Juvenile

Short Review

  • Sarah
    September 14, 2016
    Endearing novel seen through the eyes of the oh so charming preteen Julia Marks. Discouraged about her lack of stature and grieving the loss of her beloved dog, Ramon, Julia isn't looking forward to her summer. Her life changes dramatically (no pun intended) when her mother signs her and younger brother, Randy up as Munchkins in a semi-professional production of The Wizard of Oz. During the course of the nearly daily rehearsals Julia is introduced to the world of theatre and a quirky cast of cha Endearing novel seen through the eyes of the oh so charming preteen Julia Marks. Discouraged about her lack of stature and grieving the loss of her beloved dog, Ramon, Julia isn't looking forward to her summer. Her life changes dramatically (no pun intended) when her mother signs her and younger brother, Randy up as Munchkins in a semi-professional production of The Wizard of Oz. During the course of the nearly daily rehearsals Julia is introduced to the world of theatre and a quirky cast of characters who leave a lasting impact on her young life. Had I read this as a child it would have undoubtedly been one of my favorites. I've long loved the theatre and would have enjoyed Julia's astute, raw observations about the world around her.
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  • Laura
    September 12, 2016
    It's been a long time since I've read contemporary middle grade. I think kids will LOVE this -- it has the right mix of heart, relatability, humour, and seriousness that speaks to kids that age. Especially fun for kids who like theatre but I was never a theatre kid and I really enjoyed it. Just FYI, if you are an adult it may make you cry, IDK what to tell you.
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  • Sarah
    March 10, 2017
    I think Sloan is a super writer so (in addition to the good reviews I'd read) I fully expected to enjoy this. I thought this was super. I loved the frank age-appropriate voice of Julia as she observed the world around her and did not get everything. It's tricky to write a child character who's not too preciously precocious and savvy, but can talk about feelings, and I think Sloan did an amazing job of it. I loved seeing things through Julia's eyes, including how a play gets produced, what it fee I think Sloan is a super writer so (in addition to the good reviews I'd read) I fully expected to enjoy this. I thought this was super. I loved the frank age-appropriate voice of Julia as she observed the world around her and did not get everything. It's tricky to write a child character who's not too preciously precocious and savvy, but can talk about feelings, and I think Sloan did an amazing job of it. I loved seeing things through Julia's eyes, including how a play gets produced, what it feels like to be part of a cast, discovering how interesting her neighbor was, and observing a possible adult romance. I thought this was funny and refreshing and look forward to putting this into the hands of my students! I especially want to recommend it to my daughter's 4H group who will be performing The Wizard of Oz this summer and, just like Julia, my daughter gets to be a Munchkin and a winged (not "flying") monkey! (though she won't get to fly.)
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  • Maisie
    March 4, 2017
    This was wonderful! Julia has a great voice, able to make me laugh out loud and even cry. Very touching, highly recommend.
  • Patrick
    February 11, 2017
    A girl who is short, doesn't want to he short, gets cast in play to be short, and learns that being short is a very tall order and she is ready to tackle it. Wizard of OZ meets realistic fiction. Loved it!
  • Jan
    March 26, 2017
    I wanted to like this book much more than I did. I loved Counting by 7s so much and was sure I would feel the same about this book. Unfortunately I didn't. The whole Wizard of Oz musical was interesting, and it was great that Julia was able to grow from her experience as part of the cast, and also felt needed and appreciated, but I'm sorry to say I just couldn't feel any emotion for her. It just wasn't happening. The character that I loved and wanted to know so much more about was Julia's neighb I wanted to like this book much more than I did. I loved Counting by 7s so much and was sure I would feel the same about this book. Unfortunately I didn't. The whole Wizard of Oz musical was interesting, and it was great that Julia was able to grow from her experience as part of the cast, and also felt needed and appreciated, but I'm sorry to say I just couldn't feel any emotion for her. It just wasn't happening. The character that I loved and wanted to know so much more about was Julia's neighbor Mrs. Chang, the former prima ballerina and now costume designer extraordinaire. I would have loved for the story to focus on her. What a kick she was. She's in her 70s and wanted to be one of the flying monkeys, strapped in a harness, flying above the stage. Loved her!
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  • Rachael Stein
    March 8, 2017
    Julia is very short for her age (twelve). She's planning to spend her summer being short and missing her recently departed dog, but her mother makes her audition for a semi-professional production of The Wizard of Oz instead. To her own surprise, Julia is cast as a munchkin. The rest of the book is your typical coming of age plot with a lot of theater flavor thrown in. By the end, you will be unsurprised to learn, Julia has truly "grown."(Ok, first of all, why would you call your book Short? Hav Julia is very short for her age (twelve). She's planning to spend her summer being short and missing her recently departed dog, but her mother makes her audition for a semi-professional production of The Wizard of Oz instead. To her own surprise, Julia is cast as a munchkin. The rest of the book is your typical coming of age plot with a lot of theater flavor thrown in. By the end, you will be unsurprised to learn, Julia has truly "grown."(Ok, first of all, why would you call your book Short? Have you never been on the internet? What do you think is going to happen when someone googles "Short book review"? I couldn't even find it on Goodreads until I searched by "person who wrote Counting By 7s."Anyway.)The best parts of Short are centered around the show business details of putting on a play. I'm enough of a theater nerd that I enjoyed the backstage shenanigans and technical details about costuming and wire work. There were lots of appealing secondary characters such as the aging director, the unexpectedly talented elderly neighbor, and the other adults in the cast and crew.Then again, this is the second middle grade book I've read recently in which adult characters far outnumber child characters, and I'm not sure what I think about this trend. I suspect such books are more appealing to adults than children, because we adult readers sure do love to think about young people learning a thing or two from our fascinating lives. In my experience, if you're going to sell a kid on a book full of adults, they'd better be adult animals.The narration in Short is first-person and I found Julia's voice funny in a believably (sometimes irritating) twelve-year-old way. She's trying to find her place in the world, and she spends a lot of time testing out reactions and humor on the people around her, which rang true. Kudos to Holly Goldberg Sloan for striking the right balance between funny and awkward with this character. No twelve-year-old is funny all the time - especially to adults.I doubt that Short will get serious Newbery consideration, but it will definitely find its readers. I found myself wanting to recommend it to fans of Better Nate Than Ever, but I think the readership skews younger for this one. It might be a good choice for kids who are too young for Nate.
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  • Julie Kirchner
    March 26, 2017
    I enjoyed this middle grade realistic fiction novel about putting together a summer stock production of The Wizard of Oz. As a theatre and music major, I have spent many summers putting together plays and this story brought back memories of the backstage romances, quirky actors and directors, navigating complicated technical aspects including special effects like fire and flying, the excitement of opening night, the small town reviews by local newspaper journalists, the curtain calls, and the se I enjoyed this middle grade realistic fiction novel about putting together a summer stock production of The Wizard of Oz. As a theatre and music major, I have spent many summers putting together plays and this story brought back memories of the backstage romances, quirky actors and directors, navigating complicated technical aspects including special effects like fire and flying, the excitement of opening night, the small town reviews by local newspaper journalists, the curtain calls, and the sense of loss when the show is over. It is a magical way to spend summer days.
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  • Lesliebasney
    February 27, 2017
    Very sweet book, not Counting By 7s, but worthy.
  • Alex
    March 24, 2017
    The epitome of cute and sweet!
  • Jenni
    March 15, 2017
    A really well written middle-grade book. Told from the perspective of a tween, I felt the voice was very authentic - not too mature for her age, as I sometimes find in tween characters. The plot was fun, the main character really well developed, and the surrounding characters were believable and added so much to the book. It was interesting to read a book about this age group with lots of well-written adult characters that weren't the parents. I think kids, particularly those interested at all i A really well written middle-grade book. Told from the perspective of a tween, I felt the voice was very authentic - not too mature for her age, as I sometimes find in tween characters. The plot was fun, the main character really well developed, and the surrounding characters were believable and added so much to the book. It was interesting to read a book about this age group with lots of well-written adult characters that weren't the parents. I think kids, particularly those interested at all in theater, would enjoy this.
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  • Elizabeth
    February 23, 2017
    I liked this book! It was a sweet story of Julia and the summer she spends playing a Munchkin in her town's production of The Wizard of Oz. There were some very funny moments and observations made by Julia and overall, it was a good story. Great for those middle grade kids who like realistic fiction without any edgy parts whatsoever.
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  • Nicole
    March 15, 2017
    Nuts. I loved Sloan's COUNTING BY 7'S, and I thought this book would be amazing based on the description...but I just thought it was okay. There was something about the voice of the young protagonist. I could tell she was supposed to be quirky and funny, but it didn't always play that way for me... Still an enjoyable read, just not as good as I wanted it to be.
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  • Akilah
    March 6, 2017
    2.5 stars, rounding down.I liked this book better when I started reading it than when it ended. After the middle, this book started to drag a lot for me, and I found myself forcing myself to see it through.The big issue is that Julia has a great voice, but after a while it got tiresome--mostly because Julia spends most of the book in her head. Also, I realize this isn't the story Sloan set out to tell, but I would have probably liked this a lot better if Julia had actually interacted with some k 2.5 stars, rounding down.I liked this book better when I started reading it than when it ended. After the middle, this book started to drag a lot for me, and I found myself forcing myself to see it through.The big issue is that Julia has a great voice, but after a while it got tiresome--mostly because Julia spends most of the book in her head. Also, I realize this isn't the story Sloan set out to tell, but I would have probably liked this a lot better if Julia had actually interacted with some kids her own age so I got to see her actually being a kid instead of the mini-adult she thought she was.
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  • Brenda Kahn
    March 4, 2017
    I enjoyed this. I think I would've enjoyed this more had I read it with my eyes. I don't generally enjoy Sands' "young" voices. They tend to come off too quirky for my taste. I loved Julia's meandering self-centeredness.
  • Jill
    February 25, 2017
    The reader will fall in love with Julia and how she grows one summer playing a Munchin for a local production of the Wizard of Oz. Great middle school read!
  • Pauline
    February 18, 2017
    Another charming and quirky read from this author. 11 and 12 year old girls will relate to Julia and her concerns.
  • Rochelle
    February 20, 2017
    Loved this young adult book, wish I could've sold it.
  • Eva
    February 10, 2017
    Not as compelling character wise as Counting By 7s, but definitely an excellent look at how a theatre experience can change you as a person and how you look at life and art. The background characters were not perhaps as fleshed out as they could have been, but with first person POV that can be hard to do. Especially when the MC is a child and therefore self-centered.
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  • Margie
    February 8, 2017
    A short girl gets to play a munchkin in a Wizard of Oz play, only because her mother insists she try out for a part. Changes her outlook on many things, makes friends with others her age and adults and she has many new experiences. Quick interesting read for teens but others will enjoy reading this story and other books by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
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  • Michele Knott
    October 8, 2016
    This book has an amazing middle grade voice with the main character, Julia. Julia tells it like it is, usually blunt but true. A coming of age story that is funny, full of heart, and short on nothing.
  • Melissa
    October 15, 2016
    Cute.
  • Justine
    March 17, 2017
    3.5 stars.This was a super cute story and very relatable for me! Julia is boycotting the word "SHORT" because she hates that this is the only way people see her. Her two best friends are off at camps and vacations for the summer so she is left alone all summer. Her dog recently died, and this has made Julia even more sad. Her mom forces her to try out for the community play, The Wizard of Oz, with her brother. They both get cast as munchkins. When she goes to the first rehearsal, she sees real l 3.5 stars.This was a super cute story and very relatable for me! Julia is boycotting the word "SHORT" because she hates that this is the only way people see her. Her two best friends are off at camps and vacations for the summer so she is left alone all summer. Her dog recently died, and this has made Julia even more sad. Her mom forces her to try out for the community play, The Wizard of Oz, with her brother. They both get cast as munchkins. When she goes to the first rehearsal, she sees real life "munchkin." Olive (who is less than 5 feet but also a grownup) becomes Julia's mentor. Julia follows her around constantly just trying to learn something new every day. This is a great story about the process of the theater and how fun but difficult it is.I really appreciated Julia's character in the fact that she definitely acted her age. She didn't know the answers to everything. She didn't save the world. She is just a hilariously frank little girl who is trying to find her place in the world (especially without her dog)."Maybe the biggest question for me is, what is art? Maybe the answer is: Imagination mixed up with Emotion. Or maybe not. Maybe art takes time to understand. Also, maybe the artist is the person to know the art, and the rest of us are there to feel the art. Or maybe the other way around." (p. 189)"I can't stop thinking of the ducks and then of the words "passed away." We are all passing away. Maybe that's why I'm crying now. The old us is a new us every day, and we have to accept that we will have a beginning and a middle and an end." (p.239)
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  • Becky
    March 22, 2017
    I'm actually surprised to see the overall rating on this so low. I think Holly Goldberg Sloan is a fantastic author. She is one of those few who can actually pull you inside the story, and inside the characters. You enjoy the "journey" rather than just following a story to the end. Her characters have a remarkable insight into the human condition and their own lives. And, this is appropriately done from a child's angle as the main character, Julia, is 11 years old. In the story, Julia and her br I'm actually surprised to see the overall rating on this so low. I think Holly Goldberg Sloan is a fantastic author. She is one of those few who can actually pull you inside the story, and inside the characters. You enjoy the "journey" rather than just following a story to the end. Her characters have a remarkable insight into the human condition and their own lives. And, this is appropriately done from a child's angle as the main character, Julia, is 11 years old. In the story, Julia and her brother are "strongly encouraged" by their mother to join a community theater's summer production of the "Wizard of Oz". Much to Julia's initial consternation, they are cast as Munchkins. However, as she continues through the rehearsals, meets a variety of different people from the once-famous director, a few actual "short" people, and even her neighbor down the street who gets involved with the play, she discovers a lot about people, relationships, and life itself. In an endearing way, she admits several times to not being totally sure about how to figure out people and why they do what they do. In the end, despite the ups and downs, she discovers what the summer has truly taught her and why that knowledge is so important. I really loved "Counting By 7s" and this book is written along the same lines--the main character may have her own flaws and insecurities, but she draws on a somewhat motley variety of other characters to create a sort of "world of her own" in which she can learn about herself and create a way to view the world. This is definitely worth the read.
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  • Ms. Jessica
    February 14, 2017
    Captivated by the world of grown ups, Julia Marks, a spunky, tweenage girl, tries to make sense of it all while at the same time navigating her own world from a slightly smaller vantage point. You see, Julia is not only young, but she's also uncommonly short for her age, and it seems that she's destined to stay that way the rest of her life. Tired of constantly having the world defined for her, Julia decides to capture the memories of her summer in her own way by keeping a scrapbook. By the end Captivated by the world of grown ups, Julia Marks, a spunky, tweenage girl, tries to make sense of it all while at the same time navigating her own world from a slightly smaller vantage point. You see, Julia is not only young, but she's also uncommonly short for her age, and it seems that she's destined to stay that way the rest of her life. Tired of constantly having the world defined for her, Julia decides to capture the memories of her summer in her own way by keeping a scrapbook. By the end of the summer, it's filled with artifacts that she believes define herself and her experience in the local university's play The Wizard of Oz. Along with her little brother, Randy, Julia has been cast as one of the munchkins. The director, her part as a munchkin, and the cast (specifically Olive, a grown up little person) each play a large role in shaping Julia's view of the world and her place in it. She finds that the performing arts may be just the place to change both the way the world views her and the way she views herself noting, "If art isn't just taking construction paper and making a picture using four shapes and three colors--if it's trying to make people see the world and their life in a different way--then maybe that's what I want to do when I'm an adult." This endearing book reads like a refined preteen journal and you will be entertained by Julia's simple, but critical, thoughts on life. I would recommend this book to 11 and 12 year old girls. (Side note: Julia has just lost her beloved dog, Ramon, and this could be upsetting for some readers.)
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  • Yapha
    October 23, 2016
    Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz. Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin. Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production. The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are coll Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz. Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin. Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production. The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are college students; the rest, like Julia, are from the local community. Julia acknowledges not only her own shortcomings (pun intended) both at school and at home, but is realistic in her assessment of other people as well. The reader will grow along with Julia as she learns about life and the world around her through this classic production. A must read for students who love to act, as well as for those who feel they are average in a world of "stars." Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.ARC provided by publisher
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  • Linda Lipko
    March 10, 2017
    This is a wonderful story that is much more than coming of age. It is humorous, loving, chocked full of wisdom, embracing the power of role models, and simply a joy to read. Julia is short, in fact, her younger brother now surpasses her in height. Claiming her lack of height as her identity, she longs to be taller. When her mother enrolls Julia and her brother in a summer theatre production, she wants to be anywhere but spending long days practicing The Wizard of Oz. Soon she is cast as a munchk This is a wonderful story that is much more than coming of age. It is humorous, loving, chocked full of wisdom, embracing the power of role models, and simply a joy to read. Julia is short, in fact, her younger brother now surpasses her in height. Claiming her lack of height as her identity, she longs to be taller. When her mother enrolls Julia and her brother in a summer theatre production, she wants to be anywhere but spending long days practicing The Wizard of Oz. Soon she is cast as a munchkin. From the first day Julia changes her mind about spending days at the theatre. She notices the director who brings joy and knowledge, and then there is Olive, a dwarf who is vertically challenged and chocked full of a healthy self concept. When Julia is given the additional role as one of the flying monkeys, she takes the job very seriously. Expanding her horizons, she learns of an elderly neighbor who is very talented in costume design. And, off they go, flying through the air as Julia learns to trust and embrace who she is.Highly recommended!
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  • Angie
    March 13, 2017
    Julia Marks just wants to spend her summer mourning her dog Ramon, but her mother signs her up for a local theater production of The Wizard of Oz. Julia and her brother Randy are going to be playing munchkins. At first Julia isn't thrilled. She is short, but don't use the "s" word around her. Then she meets Olive, who is short because she is a dwarf and Julia's views change a bit. She starts to embrace her shortness and starts thinking about short figures in history like Queen Victoria, Charlott Julia Marks just wants to spend her summer mourning her dog Ramon, but her mother signs her up for a local theater production of The Wizard of Oz. Julia and her brother Randy are going to be playing munchkins. At first Julia isn't thrilled. She is short, but don't use the "s" word around her. Then she meets Olive, who is short because she is a dwarf and Julia's views change a bit. She starts to embrace her shortness and starts thinking about short figures in history like Queen Victoria, Charlotte Bronte and Mother Teresa. And being a munchkin isn't too bad either. The Wizard of Oz lets her spread her wings a bit (as a winged monkey even) and get to know people she might not have met before, like director Shawn Barr and neighbor Mrs. Chang. It also helps her think about something other than Ramon or the fact that her friends are out of town for the summer. I quite enjoyed this audiobook. I thought the narrator Tara Sands did a great job finding just the right voices for the characters. I really liked Julia's precociousness and the fact that she didn't always know what was going on and was ok with that. This book was less about being short and more about spending the summer doing theater. We got to learn a bit about what goes into a local theater production, from Julia's point of view. My one little quibble is probably the shortness. Julia really does come to terms with being short and sort of embraces it, which I found endearing. However, her parents have a couple of conversations where they treat shortness as a sort of disease, which was strange. Then there is the whole cop-out where Julia isn't going to be short forever. Her orthodontist takes an x-ray that shows Julia is just a late bloomer and will eventually be 5'4. I just thought this was a strange development that didn't really fit with Julia's personal (not physical) growth during the story.
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  • Holly
    February 22, 2017
    I liked the adult friendships Julia forged with her seamstress neighbor and fellow "Wizard of Oz" Munchkin cast members. This book would make a good companion to the Five, Six, Seven Nate by Tim Federle. The stream of consciousness narration made me wonder if Julia seemed younger than her actual age, however - which was not actually defined, I don't think. I'd like to hear more about what kids think of that. I marked a couple quotes about art since I've been talking about the definitions of art I liked the adult friendships Julia forged with her seamstress neighbor and fellow "Wizard of Oz" Munchkin cast members. This book would make a good companion to the Five, Six, Seven Nate by Tim Federle. The stream of consciousness narration made me wonder if Julia seemed younger than her actual age, however - which was not actually defined, I don't think. I'd like to hear more about what kids think of that. I marked a couple quotes about art since I've been talking about the definitions of art with my 6th graders.
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  • Heather
    March 1, 2017
    Holly Goldberg Sloan is an amazing story teller. You are cheering for the characters all the way through the book. My favorite line from the book, "The world is filled with bias, and it's consumed with judgment and opinions that are hardened and even institutionalized. That's why we do theater. That's what it's about. We are asking people to take another look at themselves and at each other."If we would just take another look at each other we could see we are not all that different.
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