An introduction to classic ballet stories, including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty.
Each of eight double page-spreads depicts one scene from these and other famous works and offers a short summary of the ballet’s plot. A plastic extension attached to the back page includes eight buttons that sample brief, tinny passages of the ballets’ music. The plot synopses are confusing and may leave the preschool audience baffled or bored. There is a long description of the nearly plotless The Afternoon of a Faun. Perhaps in a nod to those caregivers who are not ready to delve into the teen suicide of Romeo and Juliet and the idea of human sacrifice in Coppélia, the text glosses over these plot points. The smooth art, which looks to have been created with the aid of a computer, is a mix of muted and bold colors. The overall look combines the retro feel of early Disney animation with the big and languid eyes of anime; all dancers depicted are white. While the action is as fluid and lithe as one would expect, not all sequences clearly illustrate the scenes. For example, the Don Quixote spread features an image of a female, tutu-wearing ballet dancer front and center, but the summary references only Don Quixote and a robber.
While little ones will enjoy pushing the buttons, there is little here to satisfy burgeoning ballet enthusiasts. (Board book. 3-5)