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BALLERINA SWAN by Allegra Kent Kirkus Star


by Allegra Kent & illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Pub Date: April 15th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2373-6
Publisher: Holiday House

A beautiful swan realizes her dream of dancing when cast in Swan Lake.

Sophie is a city swan who watches children in a ballet studio with great longing. She flies in and, after an initial rebuke, summons her courage to return. A new teacher and the students now welcome her as one of their own. Well almost. Sophie’s long neck gives her a naturally elegant line, but her webbed feet make turnout difficult. Then a choreographer creates a special role for Sophie in an end-of-year student performance, and she literally soars to fame as a swan princess. Kent was an acclaimed dancer with New York City Ballet, and in this, her first book for children, she captures the workings of a ballet class with both authority and tenderness. McCully, a Caldecott medalist, uses watercolors and pen-and-ink for delicate and detailed paintings. Sophie is imbued with a winning personality. In a series of close-ups, she displays her determination to hone her technique and style, a drive matched by that of the students, who show off some of the classic Swan Lake moments to great effect—notably the dance for the four cygnets.

An enchanting tale for all, especially for lovers of ballet. Read the story, play the music and applaud.

(Picture book. 3-8)