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Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig is about two friends, Gwendolyn and Omar, who have big dreams. Gwendolyn longs to dance ballet, and Omar wants to join the football team. There’s just one problem—they’re both pigs! How will Natasha Levertov, “the greatest teacher of dance in ze vorld,” help them make their dreams come true? Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig is fun for any aspiring ballerina. Beautifully illustrated and charmingly written, the story serves to encourage any one who has a serious interest in dance, sports, art, etc. It’s a wonderful, funny and inspiring tale of dreams that can turn into reality. The illustrations are a delight too! By David Ira Rottenberg (one of the creators of this website) and illustrated by Lesley Anderson. Available from www.cedarcrestbooks.com, Amazon (by clicking on the title of the book in gold at the beginning of this paragraph) and Barnes and Noble Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig.
Gwendolyn Goes Hollywood is the next in the Gwendolyn series. It’s really funny. Gwendolyn and Omar go to Hollywood to star in a musical. Of course, Natasha, “the greatest teacher of dance in ze vorld,” and the rest of the class are there. Dancing, singing and a little shopping prevail. This is a good one! Not to be missed.
The Gilded Bat – Edward Gorey – If you like Goth, if you like ballet, this little masterpiece of a picture book is for you. You really have to see it to understand what we’re talking about. Strange, macabre and beautiful. Definitely, check it out.
Rosie’s Ballet Slippers – Susan Hampshire – Rosie’s off to her ballet lesson in her beautiful pink slippers. And it’s a day she’ll never forget! She learns the basic positions. She learns to point her toes like a sharp pencil, and hold her hands like a ballerina. She learns how to plie, saute, and curtsey. But best of all, she learns how much fun ballet can be! Maria Teresa Meloni’s illustrations convey all the joyous excitement of a little girl’s first ballet lesson.
Max – Rachel Isadora – Max is a crack baseball player. Saturday mornings he walks with his sister, Lisa, to her dancing school. One morning Max is early, and Lisa’s teacher invites him to join the class. Before Max knows it, he’s having fun! Young ballplayers and ballet dancers will share Max’s delight when he discovers that dance class is a great way to warm up for a home run.
The Little Ballerina – H.L. Ross – The Little Ballerina will dance her way into the hearts of little girls everywhere. Readers will share her determination as she practices the five basic positions, works at the barre, and struggles to do a perfect pirouette. And they will cheer when she shines as a sunbeam in the Big Recital! Ballet terms, pronunciation guide, and illustrations of steps are included.
My First Ballet Book – Kate Castle – Because every prima ballerina started at the beginning! A practical guide to beginning ballet, with specially commissioned photographs that capture the magic of dance, from the excitement of a child’s first class to the joy of dancing onstage and the wonder of watching a performance. Clear information about what to expect as a young dancer—from what to wear to how to perfect positions—is combined with an inspirational look ahead to the turns, leaps, and arabesques that build from these first steps..
Brothers of the Knight – Debbie Allen – Reverend Knight can’t understand why his twelve sons’ sneakers are torn to threads each and every morning, and the boys aren’t talking. They know their father would surely put an end to their all-night dance parties. Maybe Sunday, a new nanny with a knack for cleaning, cooking, and getting to the bottom of household mysteries, can crack the case.
Dancing in the Wings – Debbie Allen – Sassy worries that her too-large feet, too-long legs, and even her big mouth will keep her from her dream of becoming a star ballerina. So for now she’s just dancing in the wings, watching from behind the curtain, and hoping that one day it will be her turn to shimmer in the spotlight.
Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two – Patricia Lee Gauch – Tanya, the littlest dancer in her class, looks up to the new girl, Emily, who stands, walks and dances like a prima ballerina. But when they bump into each other on the way to the zoo, they discover that each of them have a dance to share. One of a series.
Angelina Ballerina: The Costume Ball – Katharine Holabird – Mr. and Mrs. Mouseling are going to the grown-ups-only costume ball, and Angelina’s determined not to miss the fun! So she and her best friend, Alice, find a way to sneak in and fool all the adults. But can the two mouselings remain undiscovered. Very popular series.
Nina, Nina Star Ballerina – Jane O’Connor – In the upcoming ballet performance of Night Sky, Nina and the other girls will be stars, dancing around Eric, who plays the moon. Nina happily tells her best friend Ann about her part in the show, then is taken aback to hear Ann passing on the news that Nina will be the star, rather than a star. Complications ensue that are told very simply and that are happily straightened out in the end. One of a series,
I Wear my Tutu Everywhere! – Wendy Cheyette Lewison – When Tilly wants to wear her tutu all the time and rips it on the playground, Mama surprises her with the best place to wear it–dancing class.
We Love Ballet! – Jane Feldman – It’s September, and it’s time for school—ballet school! Join a class of the youngest ballet students as they learn about music, balance, teamwork, and even have a recital. A perfect first ballet book.
Ballerina Girl – Kirsten Hall – A little girl puts on different costumes and pretends she’s a ballerina performing for an audience
Little Ballerina – Sue Harris – Rosie loves to dance, but she’s so clumsy! After auditioning for The Nutcracker Suite, Rosie gets the role of a mouse while Stacey wins the part of Clara. Rosie writes to The Sugar Plum Fairy for advice on how to be a better dancer, and is told to have confidence and believe in herself. When Stacey has to drop out of the performance, Rosie’s teacher encourages Rosie, who’s been practicing very hard, to replace Stacey–to great acclaim!
Little Ballerinas – Ann Morris – Photographs and simple text follow some young ballet dancers from preparation for class through a recital.
Peeping Beauty – Mary Jane Auch – Poulette the hen longs to become a famous ballerina. While her companions gossip and scratch in the garden, she stretches her limbs and dances her heart out. When a fox in talent scout’s clothing appears seeking a star for a new production entitled “Peeping Beauty,” the other hens try to convince Poulette that it’s a trick. However, the star-struck chick is unable to resist a pretty pink tutu and the promise of applause
Mimi’s Tutu – Tynia Thomassie – Mimi loves going to her mama¹s dance class. Especially when Mama lets her dance the adults! Mimi is so proud of herself her poise, her rhythmic movement, and her leotard. Until one day, another little girl comes to a dance class in a beautiful, fluffy pink tutu. Luckily, Mimi¹s mama, aunta and grandmothers have the perfect solution. An exquisite handmade lapa skirt will make Mimi shine and connect to her African heritage.
Lili at Ballet – Rachel Isadora – Lili, with a combination of dreams and determination, attends ballet class four times a week. Lili and fellow students model their dance wardrobes, demonstrate their exercises and steps, and imagine themselves dancing celebrated roles in a number of ballets. Budding balletomanes will especially enjoy the detailed discussion of the ever-wondrous pointe shoe; another welcome section focuses on a class just for boys. One of a series.
Barnyard Dance! – by Sandra Boynton – Everybody sing along—because it’s time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of board books, here are twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Ages 1-4.
Morning Dance – Todd Hannert – Every morning is the same-the same old thing in the very same way. Until the day that Sherman makes up a little dance while he’s brushing his teeth. Before he knows it, he is on the go! In the adventurous chain of events that follows, Sherman discovers an unusual way of shaking up his daily routine and making it to the school bus on time.
The Dance – Richard Paul Evans – Dancing marks the rites of passage in a daughter’s life and that of the father who loves her. From her first carefree twirling in the flower-dotted yard, to her first solo performance in The Nutcracker, to the waltz of her wedding night, her father is there watching. The tender story of the bond between a father and a daughter. Grades 2-5
Color Dance – Ann Jonas – A exuberant celebration of color with a dance theme, with children trailing and waving scarves of bright hues, teaches principles of mixing primary colors. The book opens with three figures, one dressed in red, another in blue and a third in yellow, each carrying a matching banner and saying, “This is our dance.” Pre-school.
ShowTime: Music, Dance, and Drama Activities for Kids – Lisa Bany-Winters – Gotta dance! Gotta sing! Gotta do most anything because it’s show time! In Show Time! kids learn to become “triple threat” performers, developing their skills as singers, dancers, and actors through more than 80 activities that include imitating a musician or musical instrument, acting out a song, creating a mirror dance, making puppets and playbills, and more. Ages 9-12
Mirandy and Brother Wind – Patricia Mckissack – Mirandy is sure she’ll win the cake walk if she can catch Brother Wind for her partner, but he eludes all the tricks her friends advise. In her chase, Mirandy sparkles with energy and determination.
Isadora Dances – by Rachel Isadora – When Isadora Duncan was a young child, her mother brought her for ballet lessons. Isadora thought standing on her toes was ugly. She dreamed of a different dance and soon Isadora was teaching half a dozen babies to wave their arms in the air. A picture biography of the famous dancer.
Jingle Dancer – Cynthia Leitich Smith – Jenna, a contemporary Muscogee (Creek) girl in Oklahoma, wants to honor a family tradition by jingle dancing at the next powwow. But where will she find enough jingles for her dress? An unusual, warm family story, beautifully written and illustrated.
Coppelia – Margot Fonteyn – Prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn gives one last gift to the world of dance with this enchanting retelling of a classic ballet. With the vivacity and effortless grace that marked her performances, Dame Margot Fonteyn retells the story of Coppélia, a doll so lifelike and beautiful she captures the heart of a young villager–and the jealous attention of his fiancée. Completed shortly before her death in 1991, Dame Margot’s Coppélia is masterfully staged by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, whose vibrant, richly textured paintings bring to life this tale of love and the power of imagination. Ages 6 and up.
The Twelve Dancing PrincessesThe Twelve Dancing Princesses – Marianna Mayer – For generations, children have loved the enchanting story of the twelve beautiful princesses and the handsome young lad who solves the mystery of their tattered shoes. This book brings to life all the splendor and romance of this beloved classic, from the dazzling forests of silver, gold, and diamonds to a twilight palace where the bewitched princesses dance to hypnotic music. Grades 2-4
Starring Rosie (Ballet Slippers) – Patricia Reilly Giff – Rosie is thrilled that her class is performing The Sleeping Beauty, but things aren’t turning out quite right. Rosie is stuck with her least favorite part, the scenery isn’t built, and there’s no one to play the part of the prince. Mean- while, it’s up to Rosie to save the day! Readers will be immediately drawn to Rosie’s resilience and humor. Grades 2-3
Ballerina Dreams – Diana White – An autobiography of a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, who describes how her dream of being a dancer came true. Singularly determined at an early age, she overcame vision problems and stage fright to become a successful dancer, as well as a wife, mother, and teacher. Story can be read easily by the beginning chapter-book crowd. As a final touch, instructions on how to sew ribbons on toe shoes and how to make a ballerina-bun hairdo are accompanied by step-by-step illustrations. Grades 1-3
One Leap Forward – Donna Jo Napoli – The Little Angel of Courage is ready for her wings. At least, she thinks she is. But is she brave enough to help Paul with his problem and earn the rest of her feathers? Paul likes to watch his sister’s ballet class. But when he joins a dance class of his own, his friends tell him ballet is for girls. If the Little Angel of Courage can teach Paul to stand up for himself, she might just get those wings after all! Ages 9-12
Dancing Forever (Ballerina Dreams Series) – Ann Bryant – There’s a boy in Rose’s ballet class! And Rose being Rose, she can’t help playing around with him and getting into trouble. But she’s meant to be taking her exam soon and at this rate she’s going to ruin her chances. Will her friends be able to get Rose back on track in time to take the exam? Part of popular series for ages 9-12.
Ballet Friends #1 Toe-tally Fabulous – Kitty Michaels – a fun new series for girls about friendship, dance, and following your dreams. The cast list includes: Bianca as the prima ballerina, Jessie as the tomboy, Margo as the drama queen, Lisa as the shy girl, and Kay as the klutz. For 9-12
Sugar Plum Ballerinas #1: Plum Fantastic (Sugar Plum Ballerinas) – Whoopi Goldberg – Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson does not want to be a beautiful ballerina, and she does not want to leave her friends in Apple Creek. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop her ballet-crazy mother from moving them to Harlem, or from enrolling Al at the Nutcracker School of Ballet. Life is hard when you’re the new ballerina on the block, and it’s even harder when you’re chosen to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school recital! Not only is Al a terrible dancer, but she’s also got a rotten case of stage fright! Al’s ballet classmates are going to have to use all the plum power they’ve got to coach this scary fairy! Ages 4-8
Misha’s NutcrackerHomeless on the rain-swept streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, Misha sneaks into the back door of a large theater building that reminds him of a birthday cake. He is looking for warmth and food. Inside he finds a fantastic world where things are never what they seem and fairy tales become real. This moving classic tale transports the reader to Russia where love, loyalty and the magic of theater battle with a corrupt and calculating world. A complex but intriguing tale for children 8 and up.
Listen to the Nightingale
Only after Madame Holbein’s death does 10-year-old Lottie understand her beloved dance teacher’s advice to “listen to the nightingale” and make room in her life for other things besides ballet. Lottie’s revelation begins when she serendipitously comes to own Prince, a King Charles Cavalier spaniel. But when the girl earns a place at a prestigious boarding school for dancers, she must give up the dog. The dilemma about the puppy is predictably resolved, but subsequent conflicts–including an act of betrayal, a case of blackmail and the heroine’s sudden loss of energy–prove more surprising and complex. Readers will willingly forgive the plot contrivances in exchange for Godden’s expert narration, her beguiling setting and her heartening celebration of love and happy endings. Ages 10-up. Out-of-Print. But available in libraries.
The Barefoot Book of Ballet StoriesLove, laughter, betrayal, adventure and tragedy intertwine in this collection of the stories behind real ballets. The story of “The Sleeping Beauty” will whisk you away to the thorny castle where Princess Aurora awaits her prince; the comedy and confusion of “Coppélia” will delight you, and the magical adventures of Clara in “The Nutcracker” will entrance you. Featuring a brief history of classical ballet, as well as historical details of each dance, composition, choreography and early performances, this book will captivate anyone with a love of this awe-inspiring art.
Amazon’s Best Selling Ballet Books – Clicking here brings you to Amazon’s best selling ballet books in all categories, including ballet books for children. Browse through and see if you need to add any to your library. The list is updated by Amazon hourly.