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Ruby Lee and the VERY BIG DEAL

Ruby Lee has a problem. A very BIG problem.

She has won a so-called “prize” in her school: to read her essay in front of her entire smallish town. Except that Ruby has a bad case of stage fright. Help comes in the guise of her eccentric Great Aunt Alice, who may–or may not–have been a starlet in the golden age of film.

Great Aunt Alice floats between two worlds: day-to-day reality, and a world of memory (or fantasy) in which she hobnobbed with the likes of Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, John Barrymore and Vivien Leigh. Her colorful stories–of helping Barrymore prepare for a role, teaching Bogart to whistle, pulling Brando out of bed to audition for The Godfather–will entertain and delight readers of all ages.

What’s more, each of Alice’s tales contains one of her nine “secrets to becoming a star.” These secrets, which unfold as Ruby prepares for her speech, ensure that she shines when the big day comes, her fear of public speaking now just a memory. The two come to appreciate each other–and readers come away with down-to-earth, effective public speaking tips.