The Power in Words

A review of Tomas and the Library Lady
at Seattle Children's Theatre
by Chelle K.

Tomas and the Library Lady was not a performance typical of children’s theatre. It involved emotion, although somewhat dulled to fit the audience’s comprehension, and a strong plot that proved to be the backbone of the whole performance. The reality of the play was undoubtedly pulled from Pat Mora’s fictional storybook, Tomas and the Library Lady. The book, however, contained truths about Tomas Rivera, the leading character, and provided a reality to the morals being taught onstage.

Tomas, residing in Iowa as a migrant worker with his family, has found that he will be attending school. With this knowledge, he gains numerous fears about his lack of education and inability to read. With these fears, he finds anxiety building up, and has nowhere to safely store and express his overflowing emotions. Ironically, a safe haven presents itself in the form of a library. In this library, Tomas finds companionship, along with education, in the kind librarian. She teaches him topics that would please children, such as dinosaurs, through literary greats. In these disguise lessons, Tomas eventually learns to read and of the powers held within the pages. Later in life, we find that Tomas has become Head Chancellor of the University of California.

This play not only provided humor and visual excitement for young children, but provided a deeper message for an older audience. Tomas’ relationship with the librarian proves that humans are possible of great amounts of compassion, and it gives you a sense of fulfillment to help someone else, rather than yourself. Tomas and the Library Lady, presented at the Seattle Children’s Theatre, has claimed its spot as one of the great children performances, providing dual entertainment for young and old.

Tomas and the Library Lady
plays now through March 1, 2009
at Seattle Children's Theatre, located in Seattle Center
visit or call 206.441.3322 for info and tickets
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