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LITTLE FINGERS BALLET by Ashley Marie Mireles


by Ashley Marie Mireles ; illustrated by Olga Skomorokhova

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64170-155-6
Publisher: Familius

Children are invited to play by slipping pink or blue-and-white tights on their fingers, putting them through die-cut holes in either or both of the female and male leads, and dancing to scenes from six ballet classics.

Each ballet is represented by one double-page spread. Coppélia (incorrectly spelled “Coppèlia”), the titular doll, dances for Dr. Coppelius. Cinderella and her prince perform steps at a ball. Solor flies high in La Bayadère. The Snow Queen pirouettes for the King. Romeo and Juliette turn and step, and, finally, a swan dances for a prince. The ballets are not named, and while Cinderella and an enchanted swan may be familiar to very young readers, La Bayadère, a Russian ballet set in India, Romeo and Juliette, based on the Shakespeare play about doomed lovers, and The Snow Queen, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, most likely are not. All the dancers—some white and some brown-skinned—are round-faced with big eyes and blushing cheeks. It is not clear what the suggested activity can actually accomplish without any accompanying music or background information on the ballets. The steps that appear in the text in boldface (“relevés,” “battements,” “attitude turn,” etc.) are not explained and are difficult if not impossible to mimic using fingers. Furthermore, in addition to the occasional typo, there is a maddening plot mistake in the brief text: It is not the “lead swan,” Odette, who performs the 32 “fouettés” in Swan Lake; it is the Black Swan.

A flop.

(Novelty board book. 3-5)