Raina Telgemeier’s latest graphic novel is a delightful romp through a middle school drama production. Ms. Telgemeier is also the author of Smile which is an autobiographical account of when she had to get braces in sixth grade. It was a cute story and well illustrated, but I vastly preferred Drama. Of course, I’m biased. I’ve been involved in various theatrical productions from all aspects since I was five.
It was refreshing to see a school setting that was sweet, happy, and embraced creative kids. The main character, Callie (with adorable purple and pink hair!), knows she can’t sing for a lick but still adores all things Drama. Since she wasn’t meant to be on stage, she’s a dedicated and happy part of the tech crew, ready to dive headfirst into her middle school’s new production of “Moon Over Mississippi.”
Callie builds props and is working on an impressive canon that will fire on stage while her best friend Liz is the costume designer. Various other characters put on the play, and the course of mounting it and performing it provide many pages of warm, colorful reminders of the good and bad parts of middle school drama. Oh, the boys you’ll want to date but who like someone else! Oh, the unlikely friendships you’ll make! Oh, the crazy props that are a pain in the butt to build and only work half the time!
Telgemeier deals gently but favorably with homosexuality, communication, creativity, teamwork, preteen romance, and friendship. The reading level is not challenging, but it makes a joyful and breezy read. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.