Ballet classes and recitals are not just for children and swans.
The new student in a ballet class is different in a big way. She is an alligator who does not speak ballet or even English, but she is willing to work hard. Named Tanya, she soon gets into the swing of things, but there is one big problem: her tail. The class is a little reluctant to mention this because alligators are big and they do not speak English or ballet. The teacher has the perfect solution, a new dance called “The Legend of the Swamp Queen,” featuring the alligator with her tail neatly tied back, and it is a great success. Tanya does not return to the studio after the recital, but the class receives an invitation to a special performance held by the water and featuring lovely dancing alligators and other local creatures. Zuill’s story is filled with humor, and the illustrations feature a diverse group of children who are not stick-thin. They and the big green swamp creature, all comically drawn, stand out against a white background. Tanya, costumed in red toe shoes, a red ribbon for her tail, and a gold crown, is indeed a graceful vision to behold.
Zuill ably proves that anyone can be a dancer, even if she is big, toothy, tailed, and green. (Picture book. 3-6)