Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
Amalee is back. Some of you may have met her is Dar Williams' first book titled AMALEE. Whether you've had the pleasure before or not, LIGHTS, CAMERA, AMALEE is an excellent book for girls ages 10 and up.
Amalee's summer has started with several surprises. She arrives home one afternoon to find her father and several family friends waiting with quite interesting news. Amalee's grandmother, one she didn't even know existed, has asked to meet with her. No one is totally sure what to make of this request since the woman cut off all ties when her daughter, Amalee's mother, was married and then killed in an accident shortly after Amalee's birth. All Amalee knows when she walks into her grandmother's elegant home is that the woman she is about to meet is near death.
The meeting ends up being a rather pleasant one, and Amalee leaves feeling she might be learning a bit about the mother she never knew. Shortly after their meeting, Grandmother dies, and that's when the next surprise occurs.
There is a phone call and a delivery one afternoon. The delivery is a huge box that contains her grandmother's final gift to Amalee. It is a giant champagne bottle filled with change. During her visit, Amalee questioned her grandmother about the fascinating bottle, and she was told that the change had been saved over the course of her grandmother's marriage. Now the money and the giant bottle are Amalee's.
With the help of an amazingly cute sixteen-year-old neighbor, Amalee takes the change to the bank where it is revealed that she has inherited over $2,000. Remembering the wise words of advice from her grandmother, Amalee decides to use the money to make a movie about endangered species, yet another surprise she didn't expect when her summer began.
Author Dar Williams tells the story of Amalee and her movie with great care and detail. Readers learn right along with Amalee as she researches her topic, learns the ins and outs of movie making, and relearns just how special family and friends can be. Written in an easy-to-read style that will appeal to young readers, LIGHTS, CAMERA, AMALEE is an inspirational tale.