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Review of Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    32 pp. 8/17    978-1-4197-2532-6    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-68335-110-8    $15.54 Tonatiuh (Separate Is Never Equal, rev. 7/14; Funny Bones, rev. 11/15) tells the story of Amalia Hernández (1917–2000), founder of Mexico’s most famous dance company, El Ballet […]

Toca Dance app review

So, you think you can dance? Bust a move with Toca Dance (March 2016; iOS only). Much like Siân’s fave Toca Band, this latest Toca Boca app is weird and wonderful, with an emphasis on creative, exploratory play. (I also love the quieter Toca Nature.) First choose your performers, then outfit them with costumes and […]

Review of Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Primary   Disney-Hyperion   56 pp. 2/16   978-1-4847-1379-2   $9.99 Dance diva Ballet Cat returns for her second early-reader performance (Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, rev. 7/15), and once again she’s paired with a reluctant partner/friend. Butter Bear likes dancing but draws the line at […]

Five questions for Barbara McClintock

Each of author/illustrator Barbara McClintock’s picture books provides a glimpse into a jewel-box of a world, from bustling early-twentieth-century Paris (Adèle & Simon; Farrar, 4–7 years) to a cozy 1970s mouse-house (Where’s Mommy?, written by Beverly Donofrio; Schwartz & Wade, 4–7 years). Her latest, Emma and Julia Love Ballet (Scholastic, 4–7 years), does the same […]

Review of Emma and Julia Love Ballet

Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Scholastic   32 pp. 3/16   978-00-439-89401-2   $16.99   g “Emma wakes up early. Julia wakes up early, too…They both have ballet lessons this morning.” McClintock follows young Emma as she goes to her ballet lesson and professional dancer Julia as she attends company […]

Review of Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder; 
illus. by Julie Morstad Primary, Intermediate   Chronicle   48 pp. 8/15   978-1-4521-1890-1   $17.99 In this exquisite introduction to ballet great Anna Pavlova (1881–1931), the impressionistic text begins the night young Anna goes out into the big city to see The Sleeping Beauty performed. Like the […]

2015 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance

I’ve just about given up on the world. A friend of mine, a book-wise, hanger-thin Jamaican, whose spider fingers dance across endless stories, whose easy smile softens the formality of his dress, sent me an essay he wrote, about how much safer he felt as a child in the gangster-riddled streets of 1980s Kingston than […]

Review of The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma High School   Algonquin   321 pp. 3/15   978-1-61620-372-6   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-486-0   $17.95 Orianna Speerling — the so-called “Bloody Ballerina” — is just fifteen when she is convicted of murdering two rival dancers. A month after her sentence begins, all forty-two girls interned at the Aurora Hills […]

Bellydance Evolution: Alice in Wonderland

You may be wondering, “What the heck does bellydancing have to do with children’s books?” Having seen Bellydance Evolution’s production of Alice in Wonderland on Wednesday night, I can assure you that the two do play together nicely when brought together in a thoughtful way. According to the mission statement on their site, dance company […]

Review of Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland 
Shows a Young Girl How to 
Dance like the Firebird

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland 
Shows a Young Girl How to 
Dance like the Firebird by Misty Copeland; 
illus. by Christopher Myers Primary   Putnam   40 pp. 9/14   978-0-399-16615-0   $17.99   g Think you can simply write off celebrity books? Think again. American Ballet Theatre soloist Copeland is just as graceful with words as she is with her […]