Waltz away, Waldo—it’s a ballerina we’re looking for.
Ten full-length classical and romantic ballets—all popular and all performed today (recordings are readily available if readers are motivated to seek them out)—are the settings for a game of spot-the-dancers. Starting with Swan Lake, Claybourne and Goh succinctly retell each ballet’s basic plot using sequential panels and medallion close-ups of the main characters. This is followed by a panoramic two-page vista from the ballet that is densely populated by dancers in costume and manages, in a very busy but entertaining fashion, to capture the setting and spirit of a performance. This is the time to search for those main characters. Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Cinderella follow. The illustrations are colorful and detailed, capturing the general atmosphere of each ballet. Those who have attended a performance will enjoy the recap and may even experience an aha moment or two. Those new to the ballets will come away with a basic feeling for the tales. A key is provided in the back of the book. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the composers or the music, a significant omission given that ballet is not a silent art form.
Both balletomanes and seek-and-find lovers should enjoy this performing-arts variation on a popular picture-book game. (Picture book. 6-10)