A magical mystery tour for ballet lovers.

BALLERINA GETS READY

It is a busy day for a ballerina.

Iris begins her day at 8:00 a.m. eating breakfast, packing her bag, and setting off for the theater. She changes into practice clothes at 10:05 and takes class with the company. Rehearsal for a new ballet begins at 12:00, followed by a break two hours later, and then it is back to the theater at 3:30 for a costume fitting. More rehearsal, another break, makeup at 6:30, more barre to warm up the muscles, and finally at 8:00 p.m. the curtain comes up on a beautiful production filled with music, costume, scenery, and lights. All in all, it is a good and typically full day for a dancer. Kent, who previously wrote Ballerina Swan, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (2012), here focuses her experienced eye on the daily activities of a prima ballerina. There’s a breathless quality to her writing, which is packed with details that will enchant readers who dance. Bold typeface for the time emphasizes important events without interrupting the narrative flow. Stock’s fluid ink-and-watercolor illustrations provide very charming and lively details that spotlight Iris’ movements. Double-page spreads allow readers to experience the mysteries of backstage preparation and then enjoy a front-row seat for the magic of live theater. Iris is white, but the company has some dancers of color, reflecting current ballet demographics.

A magical mystery tour for ballet lovers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3563-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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