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TANYA AND THE RED SHOES by Patricia Lee Gauch


by Patricia Lee Gauch & illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23314-8
Publisher: Philomel

Talented little Tanya is growing up, and she’s starring now in her sixth story from collaborators Gauch and Ichikawa (Presenting Tanya the Ugly Duckling, 1999, etc.). Like all female ballet students, Tanya longs to begin pointe work with her first pair of toe shoes, especially after she watches the movie version of The Red Shoes. Her class finally gets toe shoes (though children at the age shown are really too young to begin serious pointe work), and they slowly learn to dance sur pointes, as their teacher says. Tanya struggles through blisters, feeling like an elephant, and actually flinging her toe shoes across the room, but she perseveres with plenty of practice and some kind encouragement from her older sister, an experienced dancer. Tanya extends her budding accomplishments on the final page (and the cover) with a dream sequence of herself dancing skillfully in her own red toe shoes. Effectively capturing Tanya’s effervescent personality, Ichikawa’s polished watercolor-and-ink illustrations also show a superb understanding of the proper positions and dynamics of ballet, right down to finger placement and the correct tilt of the head. Gauch’s first-person story has Tanya wobbling believably between a frustrated little girl and a determined young dancer, but the lovely cover illustration of Tanya in a perfect arabesque shows us that she is ready to soar. Brava, Tanya—come back again for another encore. (Picture book. 4-8)