2017 Debut Book Love: How to Stage a Catastrophe

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comHave I said how much I love my fellow middle grade debut authors? If not, I mean to. Everyday.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten an ARC (advanced reader copy) of one of my fellow middle grade debut friends in the mail, but then, on a cold, dark Halloween day, Rebecca Donnelly’s super fun HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE showed up in my mail box and saved my life.

Part play – part novel – and all funny, I read this book in short bursts – not letting myself gobble it up in one sitting. And I totally fell for the characters. Sid and Folly are smart and funny and full of good (and not-so-good) ideas, and just the kind of kids you want to hang out with. Even the adults in this book are great. And despite the spot-on descriptions of Florida heat, I kind of wanted to move to Hatahatchee and spend some time backstage at the Juicebox Theater.

How to Stage a CatastropheHow to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a fun read! Hilarious and heart-warming, Sidney and company’s quest to save the Juicebox Theater is a joy to read. The characters are fantastic – smart and funny and kind – but full of wild ideas just the same. Great for theater lovers, theater wanna-be’s, and anyone who loves a good play (and a few chase scenes!), Donnelly’s story will keep you reading and laughing and longing for the next performance. The creative design and chapter structure is just an added treat.

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For readers:

  • A great set of fun and smart characters who are getting things done.
  • Theater stuff – behind the scenes and on the stage.
  • Friendship, fun, and a really awesome dog.

For teachers

  • Great structure – and a fun way to introduce kids to play structure and the ins and out of stage work.
  • Discussion about community – and how to work together to save something you care about.
  • Discussion about passion – and how to work hard on something that matters – without hurting others in the process.