Grace is just not graceful.
Little Grace takes dance class and tries very hard to perform basic ballet steps along with her classmates. Alas, after one too many falls, the other girls show her the door. But all is not lost for the pink-tutu–clad former ballerina. She changes outfits, going for a more eclectic, bohemian look, takes out her crayons and paper, and—with the assistance of her cat—does what she does best: She draws. Ballet, like the other performing arts, is not just the dancers. Scenery and backdrops are required, and therein Grace finds her forte. She is happy, and so are the girls who perform in front of her pink castles. And she keeps dancing although not on stage; her cat now sports the pink tutu in their private pas de deux. Parkinson’s text is both enjoyable to read aloud and basic enough for emerging readers to tackle successfully, with its simple, declarative statements and repetition of words. The digitally manipulated pen-and-ink illustrations are lively and expressive. The girls and the cat all have exaggeratedly large eyes that convey just what they are feeling.
There is more than one way to shine on stage, as Grace happily attests. (Early reader. 2-6)