Samantha's Special Talent

Published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp or Sarah Masters Buckey; illustrator Dan Andreasen, Troy Howell, Susan McAliley, or Philip Hood


The Mount Bedford Library roof is in dire need of repair. There's a meeting scheduled to discuss and solve the problem, but the people in charge are doubtful anyone will come. Samantha and her friend Ida help organize a talent show to draw the crowds. Ida is shy but a very good artist, so she's content to make posters. Samantha wants to perform, but not the piano like she always does (plus, Edith Eddleton is better at piano than Samantha). Soon students from her school and others are signing up for a variety of acts: playing musical instruments, singing, performing magic tricks, and one boy is even bringing his parrot to perform. Samantha also convinces the new girl from France to demonstrate some ballet moves, and she wins second place (Edith wins first). Because she's so busy organizing acts and selling tickets, Samantha ends up not performing in the talent show at all. But at the end of the show, the people in charge of the library call Samantha on stage to publicly acknowledge her leadership skills and announce that they've raised a significant amount of money toward a new library, and Samantha will receive the first library card from it.

Looking Back

In keeping with the theme of entertainment, this section is about vaudeville. It's interesting that while prejudices were evident in some forms, like African-American actors being required to wear blackface, the shows were inclusive in other ways. Men AND women of all nationalities were welcome on stage, and women got paid about the same as men, sometimes more.


My short story collection book is inscribed in the front with "Elysa #21 Mrs. Able."

I didn't realize that Houdini and Buster Keaton got their starts in vaudeville.

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