Author: Terry John Barto
Illustrator: Mattia Cerato
ISBN: 978-1-4969-3509-0 (Soft cover) ISBN: 978-1-4969-3512-0 (E-Book)
Admittedly, many of us fantasize of being famous and in all likelihood we have heard the expression, “Hollywood here I come.” Now along comes Gollywood Here I come, a visually dazzling children’s picture book crafted by the acclaimed theater director/choreographer, Terry John Barto and a very talented Italian born illustrator, Mattia Cerato.
The narrative is about a young turkey named Anamazie Marie LaBelle that is discovered by a Hollywood talent scout after competing in the finals of the TV show, Gobbleville’s Got Talent that was held at the Korn-a-Plenty Community Theater in the small town of Gobbleville near where she lived. Although Anamazie was disappointed in not winning the contest, she nonetheless attracted the attention of a Hollywood talent scout employed by Gollywood Pictures. The scout was impressed with her performance and informed her that the renowned director, J.B. Tuttlebaum was on the lookout for a young girl to star in a film he was directing. He believed that Anamazie might be that girl, however, first she must submit to a screen test.
Anamazie couldn’t believe her ears and immediately envisioned being in the movies and strutting on the famous red carpet along with other well-known celebrities. The big challenge was would she be able to pass the screen test?
Overwhelmed and blown away by the studio and meeting the one-and-only J. B. Tuttlebaum, Anamazie comes through with flying colors and is awarded the part. Both Anamazie and her mother were ecstatic when J.B’s decision was relayed to them and they assured him that he would not be disappointed with his choice.
Make no mistake about it, young readers will easily relate to Anamazie’s stage fright as she prepares for her screen test and especially her shaky start with her co-star, Jake Quigglemap.
Barto and Cerato are to be commended for producing an enriching and inspiring story illustrating the power of simple storytelling that young children can easily understand. Employing prose that is unclouded, the narrative presents life lessons and a message of great significance-you can do anything if you work hard, persevere and follow your dreams.
Quite impressive is that each sentence comprises carefully chosen meaningful words that are interwoven with the images, thus providing a rich and informative reading experience. As for the lead character, Anamazie, readers will cheer for her and praise her fortitude and moxie, for after all she is an exceptional memorable character and certainly not mundane, who was born to perform. Even her family name suits her, which translates from the French, “the beautiful.”
And what really stands out and makes the narrative leap to life are Cerato’s creative mesmerizing images. Here is an illustrator who is quite gutsy in using his imagination to the fullest employing a broad use of color in producing one glorious scene after another which effectively compliments the text and adds personality to the book.
Once cracked open, Gollywood Here I come makes a perfect book to share with your children and will undoubtedly become a favorite in the hands of young beginning readers.
Just in passing, apparently the book emanated from a show Barto created called Gobbleville, U.S.A which is a small town where the characters are turkeys that behave like people. One of the characters from the town was named Anamazie.
Follow Here To Read Norm’s Interview With Terry John Barto