Cover image for Annabel the actress starring in "Gorilla my dreams"
Annabel the actress starring in "Gorilla my dreams"
Conford, Ellen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1999.
Physical Description:
64 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Though a little disppointed that her first acting part is to be a gorilla at a birthday party, Annabel determines to really get into the role.
Reading Level:
390 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.9 1.0 31141.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.1 3 Quiz: 17713 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction
X Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction

On Order



Meet Annabel -- Annabel the actress, that is. Annabel's dream is to be a famous actress, but when she finally lands her first role, it isn't quite what she had in mind. She has to start somewhere, though, even if it means pretending to be a gorilla at a little kid's birthday party. The moment she accepts the job things get hairy. Her costume designer and best friend, Maggie, has trouble turning a raincoat's furry lining into a gorilla suit, and then her archenemy, Lowell, steals her mask. Through it all Annabel tells herself, "The show must go on." Then she faces her biggest challenge of all -- a tough audience of five-year-old boys. Will Annabel be a hit or a flop? This book will have readers chuckling from the moment the curtain goes up and shouting "Encore!" even before it's over. Fortunately for them, Annabel will be back in further adventures!

Author Notes

Ellen Conford was born in New York City on March 20, 1942. Her first picture book, Impossible, Possum, was published in 1971. Her other picture books include Just the Thing for Geraldine and Eugene the Brave. Her first young adult novel, Dreams of Victory, was published in 1973. Her other works include Dear Lovey Hart, I Am Desperate; Dear Mom, Get Me Out of Here; If This Is Love, I'll Take Spaghetti; I Love You, I Hate You, Get Lost; and Crush. She also writes the Annabel the Actress series and the Jenny Archer series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Conford's (the Jenny Archer series) fast-paced and funny first installment of a chapter-book series introduces an appealing thespian, Annabel, whose first paid job requires her to play a gorilla for a children's birthday party. In addition to Annabel, who wants "to be a movie star someday. Or at least a soap opera star," the boisterous cast includes Maggie, Annabel's resourceful friend and budding costume designer, and Lowell, Annabel's arch enemy who nearly closes her run as a gorilla before her debut. Andriani's (Really, Really Bad School Jokes) well-chosen comic scenes show Annabel getting into character by pretending to pick fleas out of her father's "fur" while he works on his computer and desperately trying to avoid dropping the birthday cake while being assaulted by her adoring five-year old "fans." In Annabel, Conford has created a persistent heroine smart and capable enough to overcome her small size and makeshift costume. This rising star will likely be a crowd pleaser for this and future performances. Ages 7-9. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-In this humorous beginning chapter book, Conford introduces a resourceful, funny, and clever character who is a worthy successor to Jenny Archer. Annabel, an aspiring young actress who advertises "...NO PART TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL," is hired for her first job, playing a gorilla at a five-year-old's birthday party. Her friend Maggie volunteers to make her a costume from the furry lining of an old raincoat, she borrows a gorilla mask, and begins to practice gorilla behavior at home and at school. Unfortunately, the material is so thick that Maggie can only pin the pieces together and Annabel's worst enemy, Lowell Boxer, steals the mask from her on the big day. Forced to rely on her acting skills-while pins are jabbing her-Annabel is the hit of the party. She also comes up with a clever ploy to retrieve the mask from Lowell. The vocabulary is appropriate for those graduating from easy-readers, but the language is never stilted. Amusing pen-and-ink illustrations appear on almost every page. This book will be enjoyed by fans of James Howe's "Pinky and Rex" series (Atheneum) and Johanna Hurwitz's Russell and Elisa (Puffin, 1990).-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One: Annabel the Actress Annabel was an actress. Every week she put an ad in the town newspaper. The paper printed free ads for kids who wanted jobs. Annabel's ad read: ANNABEL THE ACTRESS. NO PART TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL. Annabel wanted to be a movie star someday. Or at least a soap opera star. When she watched TV, she studied how the actors acted. When she went to the movies, she imagined how she would play the starring roles. Sometimes she thought, I could do that. Sometimes she thought, I could do better than that. She read all the books she could find in the library about acting. And she practiced all the time. Today she was acting angry. She stood in front of a mirror. She made her face look snarly. She messed up her hair. She held her hands out like claws. "I hate you!" she shouted at the mirror. "Hate you, hate you, hate you!" That's pretty good anger, she thought. But it's not great anger. She tried to think of things that made her angry: Homework on a weekend. Losing all her money in Monopoly. Lowell Boxer making fun of her. Lowell Boxer was her lifelong enemy. She pretended Lowell Boxer was in the mirror. "Grr! You get out of here, Lowell! Or else!" Now that's great anger, Annabel thought. The important thing about acting was feeling the part. And she almost always felt angry at Lowell Boxer. The phone rang. "Hello!" shouted Annabel. "What do you want?" "My, you sound angry," the caller said. "Thank you," said Annabel. "I'm not really angry I was just practicing acting angry." "Then you must be Annabel," the caller said. "I saw your ad in the newspaper." "I am Annabel," Annabel said. "Do you need an actress?" "I need a gorilla." "Then why did you call an actress?" Annabel asked. "What I mean is, I need someone to play the part of a gorilla," the caller said. "For a movie?" Annabel asked hopefully "Or a TV show?" "For my little brother's birthday party." "Oh," said Annabel. Just a kid's party. She wouldn't have a very big audience. And there probably wouldn't be any show business people there. But a job was a job. "I want a gorilla to carry in the cake and sing 'Happy Birthday,'" the caller said. "I can sing," Annabel said. "And dance, too. But maybe not while I'm carrying a cake." "How much would you charge?" the caller asked. "You would only have to be here for about half an hour." Annabel thought about it. "Ten dollars," she said. "That seems fair," said the caller. "But you sound like a kid." "I am a kid," said Annabel. "Do you think a grown-up would work that cheap?" "It's just that Dennis likes big gorillas. You might be too short." "I am an actress," Annabel said. "I will act tall." "Well, okay The price is right, anyhow. My name is Daisy Fry. Our address is 462 Washington Street." Annabel wrote it down. "Is your brother Dennis Fry?" she asked. "The one who got stuck on his roof?" "That's Dennis." Daisy sighed. "We had quite a crowd here that day." "I know," said Annabel. "I saw the firemen get him down." "You must live pretty near us," Daisy said. "Yes," said Annabel, "so I will not need a limo." "You have a limo?" Daisy sounded impressed. "No," said Annabel. "That's why I'm glad I won't need one." "Be here at two o'clock Saturday," Daisy said. "And come in the back door. I don't want Dennis to see you. By the way -- you do have a gorilla costume, don't you?" "Of course," said Annabel. "Doesn't everyone?" "Okay," said Daisy "See you Saturday, then." "Wait!" Annabel said. "How old is Dennis?" "He'll be five on Saturday." "Are you sure you want a gorilla?" asked Annabel. "Gorillas can be pretty scary." "Dennis loves gorillas," Daisy said. "King Kong is his favorite movie." "All right," said Annabel. "You're the director. I just hope I don't scare him." "You don't sound very scary," Daisy said. "That's because I haven't gotten into the part yet," Annabel told her. "By Saturday I'll be terrifying." She hung up the phone. She had a part! It was only a children's birthday party. But all great actors have to start somewhere. And she would be paid ten dollars. For only half an hour of acting! Now all she had to do was find a gorilla costume. Copyright © 1999 by Ellen Conford Excerpted from Annabel the Actress Starring in Gorilla My Dreams by Ellen Conford All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.