Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco Book Review

Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: August 12, 2014

Trisha is terrified to speak in front of an audience. She can't even read her essay aloud to her class. Which is why it is surprising when Trisha ends up in Mr. Wayne's drama class. Given a job painting scenery, Tricia secretly memorizes all the lines of the play as she listens to the cast rehearse. Then, when the lead actress suddenly moves away, Mr. Wayne calls upon Tricia to take the part not only because she knows the lines, but because he believes that she will make his play come to life. With careful coaching and coaxing, Mr. Wayne helps Trisha overcome her stagefright and find the masterpiece within herself.

My mother was always obsessed with Patricia Polacco's books. As a kid, I remember going to the library and her checking them out all the time. I always thought this strange, because I found these books to be terribly boring and overly long, but my mother loved them. She still does. I think I may understand now.

These books are rather text heavy as far as picture books go. The stories are sometimes sad or melancholy, dealing with topics that older children will be able to relate to better. Here's the conundrum, I would say that most of her books are really for children around seven to nine. However, that is the age in which kids begin to read to themselves rather than having someone else read to them. Of course, parents can still read to their children at that age, but at that age I wanted my mother to read me The Hobbit and The Mouse and the Motorcycle rather than picture books.

This is all anecdotal of course, but the point is, I think this story is really one that adults will like more than the kids. That feeling of nostalgia. It's not that the story is bad, in fact, it is quite beautiful in both language and illustrations. It's why I think these books do so well though. Adults love to read them and since they are the ones who buy them, the books continue to be popular.

I would love to hear something to the contrary though. Did you have a favorite Patricia Polacco book as a kid or were you, like me, subjected to them because one of your parent loved them?