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NAUGHTY TOES by Ann Bonwill


by Ann Bonwill & illustrated by Teresa Murfin

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-58925-103-8
Publisher: Tiger Tales

Chloe knows how hard it can be to follow the beat of your own dancing drum.

Her graceful sister Belinda perfectly meets all requirements of Madame Mina's ballet class. Chloe, however, is the constant misfit; she chooses a multi-hued ensemble, her pigtails fizz out and she crashes into a fellow dancer, the lone boy in her class. Madame's descriptive instructions successfully encourage almost all her young pupils to emulate a classic ballerina. "Sway like flowers!… Flutter like butterflies!" But instead, Chloe moves like a “cloud with gusto.” Her teacher's sharp reprimands (“naughty toes!”) point to Chloe's role in their final performance (her sister stars as the fairy princess, but Chloe is a rock). The initially rigid instructor and piano accompanist demonstrate a more receptive demeanor by recital's end; their gift to Chloe reflects a growing appreciation for her toe-tapping spirit. Chloe's deadpan narration is efficient. “My sister, Belinda, is a ballerina. I, Chloe, am not.” Pitch-perfect body language reflects Chloe's embarrassment and her battle to express herself. Light graph-paper backgrounds try to exert order, while soft colors accentuate each contrasting behavior. Chloe's family shines, supporting their daughter's individuality without restricting her style.

A refreshing take on the need to follow one's own heart—or feet. (Picture book. 4-8)