Ballerino Nate

Ballerino Nate

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, R.W. Alley
     
 
Nate has the heart of a dancer, and he is determined to learn ballet.Even his older brother, Ben, can’t change his mind with his claims that "boys don’t dance." Or can he? When Ben tells Nate that he’ll have to wear pink shoes and a dress, Nate becomes awfully worried. And when he’s the only boy in his ballet class, he begins to think that Ben is right: Maybe boys don

Overview

Nate has the heart of a dancer, and he is determined to learn ballet.Even his older brother, Ben, can’t change his mind with his claims that "boys don’t dance." Or can he? When Ben tells Nate that he’ll have to wear pink shoes and a dress, Nate becomes awfully worried. And when he’s the only boy in his ballet class, he begins to think that Ben is right: Maybe boys don’t dance.

Exuberant and true-to-childhood, this is a warm and funny story about sibling squabbles, the joy of ballet, and best of all, grabbing hold of your dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bradley (Favorite Things) tackles gender stereotypes head-on with a plucky hero who prefers plies and pirouettes to Little League and Nintendo. Nate (a small, gray shepherd-like mutt in this all-dog story), an eager kindergartener, gets hooked on ballet during a field trip to a performance: "He loved the fluttery costumes... He loved the way the dancers jumped and leaped and spun." When he declares he wants to learn to dance that way, his second-grade, sports-loving brother, Ben, quickly pronounces, "You can't... You're a boy." Much of the poignant humor revolves around the brothers' back and forth, as Ben keeps reminding Nate that his chosen pursuit is primarily a girls' pastime that requires wearing pink shoes and a dress. Alley's (Tiger Can't Sleep) true-to-life ink-and-watercolor illustrations adroitly capture the youngsters' home life (e.g., in one scene, Nate blithely twirls around Ben, who's zoned out in his red beanbag chair playing a video game). Their mother's exasperated reactions to Ben's insensitivity are comically realistic. Readers will be inspired by Nate's perseverance in the face of sibling pressure (and also the discovery that all the dancers in his ballet class are girls), as well as by his overt joy at realizing a new passion. Three cheers for this contemporary tale that effectively takes on the issue of societal pressure-and for Nate's parents, who handle the matter with only encouragement and grace. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Three cheers for this challenge to stereotypes! When Nate's class goes to the ballet he is enchanted, despite his brother's sneers. All summer he dances and learns what he can about ballet. "Boys can't be ballerinas," says his brother. He even warns Nate that he'll have to wear pink shoes and dresses. Despite his dad's reassurance, Nate is still apprehensive when he begins ballet classes. He loves the teacher and the classes, but the other students are, in fact, girls. When he attends a real ballet, however, he sees that half the dancers are men. Then he meets one of the dancers, who agrees that a man can't be a ballerina, because that means "woman dancer." Instead, he tells Nate that he is a dancer hoping some day to be a top ballerino. Nate is satisfied with his role at last. Alley's pen-and-ink, watercolor, and "a few colored pencil(s)" illustrations depict Nate's story honestly but always positively. Perhaps his cast of anthropomorphic canines makes the notion of a male dancer easier to absorb, but we can quickly translate the actors into humans because all the actions and settings are so human. Details add to the realism; the humor tempers the serious message. Even the endpapers show Nate in the five classic ballet positions alongside comparable sports actions. 2006, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Nate decides he wants to dance after attending a recital, but his older brother tells him that boys can't be ballerinas. Even though the child's parents tell him otherwise, Ben's words worry the would-be performer. Nate loves his ballet class, but he wonders why he is the only boy. His troubles disappear when he attends a professional performance and meets one of the male dancers. He explains that he calls himself a dancer, but you could also call a male dancer a "ballerino." Alley's ink-and-watercolor illustrations of the animal characters have a playful energy that moves the story forward. While the word "ballerino" may not exist, which the text unfortunately fails to clarify, children will admire Nate's persistence to follow his interest despite the obstacles. Aspiring dancers of either gender will enjoy this look at the art of dancing from a male perspective.-Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After attending a student ballet performance with his kindergarten class, Nate decides he wants to become a ballet dancer. Despite negative pressure from his brother, Nate persists in his dream until his parents arrange for lessons. When Nate is the only boy in the class, and his brother continues his teasing, Nate's mother takes him to a real ballet in a huge theater, where Nate sees that men can be dancers, too. Though the idea of a boy wanting to study ballet is not a new one, the sensitive, humorous treatment and the gentle and understanding parents bring a fresh slant to the story. Alley's appealing illustrations in watercolor with pen and ink use all sorts of dogs as the characters (little tails poke out from under their tutus), and he creates quite a believable and likable persona for little Nate, with expressions that effectively convey all his emotions. Terrific well beyond the ballet lesson. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803729544
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/16/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Leap of Faith, Jefferson's Sons, and The War That Saved My Life.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >