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BALLET OF THE ELEPHANTS by Leda Schubert Kirkus Star


by Leda Schubert & illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59643-075-3
Publisher: Deborah Brodie/Roaring Brook

In Florida, 1942, a most unusual collaboration took place. George Balanchine, the great expatriate Russian choreographer, created a dance for John Ringling North’s circus elephants to music by his good friend, the great expatriate Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Schubert’s understated but informative text contrasts delightfully with the grand goings-on as elephants rehearse for weeks in lovely pink tutus. With Modoc, an Indian elephant performing a pas de deux with Vera Zorina, a popular ballet and Broadway star, the staging was a dazzling success. Parker’s watercolor designs swirl about, capturing the procession of elephants, the skyline of St. Petersburg and the exuberance of four-legged creatures looking even more elegant than the ballerinas. An afterword and photographs provide additional information and confirm that the ballet, occasionally performed today with ballet students, actually took place. A charming tale to share with young fans of the circus and ballet. (bibliography, web sites, extensive author note) (Picture book. 4-7)