THE PHOENIX DANCE by Dia Calhoun

THE PHOENIX DANCE

Age Range: 11 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

One girl, 12 princesses and a metaphorical phoenix cycle back and forth from the Kingdom of Brilliance (mania) to the Kingdom of Darkness (depression) in this daring combination of a Grimm’s fairy tale and an introduction to bipolar disorder. Fourteen-year-old Phoenix lives with three colorful aunts; an apprenticeship making shoes for the royal household delights her. Her joy grows into a frenetic whirlwind that becomes torturous for both herself and those around her, before dipping into a severe depression. This “Illness of Two Kingdoms” is treated with potion that cuts off emotional highs and lows. Meanwhile, the kingdom’s 12 princesses, as per Grimm, mysteriously wear out their dancing shoes every night. By day, they’re sick and miserable. Phoenix is determined to help them. Calhoun tackles real-life bipolar issues (finding effective meds; side effects; whether losing the mania is too high a price for stability) with specificity and aplomb. Though the two genres don’t blend seamlessly and the theme is spelled out too often, the piece is creative, moving and surprisingly organic. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-35910-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2005




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