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ON YOUR TOES by Rachel Isadora Kirkus Star


A Ballet ABC

by Rachel Isadora & illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-050238-X
Publisher: Greenwillow

The beauty and wonder of ballet welcome the reader right from the cover. Pink toes shoes on beautifully arched feet and just a hint of a tutu hold the promise of a glorious performance to come within the pages of this ABC. Isadora’s (Not Just Tutus, p. 309, etc.) vibrant pastel paintings pulsate with the excitement of a Grand jeté and a Pas de chat. She takes readers Backstage for Lights and Makeup. Costumes vary from the traditional Odette and Queen to the 20th-century Firebird. There’s the excitement of a Variation and the quiet formality of a Révérence. Each full-page painting is bordered to give it its own special focus but all blend together in smooth transitions. The “Z” for Zipper is truly inspired, ending the book on a note of grace with its backstage perspective of a ballerina in pose. Children are in the paintings even though at these ages they could not actually perform the steps. They do dream of that performance, though, and see themselves onstage. Their faces here display the fervent concentration or spirited happiness of the world of ballet from studio rehearsal to stage performance. For those readers who don’t recognize the sets and costumes, Isadora provides a glossary. This is a lovely accompaniment to Peter Sís’s Ballerina! (2001), Patricia Lee Gauch’s Tanya stories, and Isadora’s own Lili at Ballet (1993). (Picture book. 2-5)