Ruby Lee and the VERY BIG DEAL

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Ruby Lee had 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.

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