by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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Gilbert wrote and illustrated this story in 1947, and her story of an “indescribable” little girl trying to become famous retains the gentle, nostalgic feeling of works for children from an earlier era. The main character, a doll-like child named Arabella Anastasia, tries painting, acting, and dancing as her claim to fame, but she is dismissed by experts in each field. An elderly couple befriends Arabella, encouraging her creative pursuits and building up her confidence. She succeeds in dancing for her neighborhood friends, finding her place (and 15 minutes of fame) in her own backyard, as have quite a few other storybook characters. The gouache-and-ink illustrations are integrated into the text, which is hand-lettered using old-fashioned cursive script. Arabella herself has a unique physique, with overly large legs and tiny, pointed feet that along with the flat perspective of the illustration style give her the look of a ballerina doll. Arabella is not really an indescribable character, but her story is a charming reminder of a simpler time. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-85321-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003