Ballet Bug

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Overview

When Bea decides to take ballet, she finds it tough at first. But then she makes a new friend, Margaret, who convinces her to try out for The Nutcracker. They both make it, but then things start to go downhill. When Margaret gets a chance to dance the starring role, Bea discovers that some dancers who don't like Margaret are planning to sabotage the ballet. Can Bea somehow stop them and help her friend? Chock-full of authentic detail that ballet fans will love, Christine McDonnell's keen eye for the problems and ...

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Overview

When Bea decides to take ballet, she finds it tough at first. But then she makes a new friend, Margaret, who convinces her to try out for The Nutcracker. They both make it, but then things start to go downhill. When Margaret gets a chance to dance the starring role, Bea discovers that some dancers who don't like Margaret are planning to sabotage the ballet. Can Bea somehow stop them and help her friend? Chock-full of authentic detail that ballet fans will love, Christine McDonnell's keen eye for the problems and feelings of her readers make Ballet Bug the perfect read for anyone who loves ballet-or simply a good story.

When Bea becomes interested in ballet, she starts taking classes, auditions for The Nutcracker, and makes a new best friend, but also must cope with some nasty classmates and a possible conflict between playing hockey and dancing.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Bea Nash is a tomboy in the old-fashioned sense. In other words, ballet is not counted among her hobbies. She would much rather be scrimmaging with her ice hockey team than shimmying into a tutu. But when Bea is invited to watch a ballet movie of Cinderella at a friend's birthday party, she finds herself riveted to the screen. She is amazed by the speed and agility of the dancers, comparing their athleticism to those of skaters. She asks her mother if she can take ballet lessons without interfering with her hockey practice. Soon she is shopping for leotards and tights, heading for her first lesson. While the steps don't come easily to her at first, she enjoys the lesson and realizes she can learn. When tryouts for the annual Nutcracker production take place, Bea is encouraged by her friend Margaret, who has been a dancer for some time. Bea earns a part as a Polichinelle. Margaret is given the opportunity to dance the starring role, and some jealous dancers threaten to botch her performance. Margaret and Bea team up to support one another. The strength of their inter-racial friendship (Bea is Caucasian and Margaret is African American) shines amidst the prejudice and jealousy of some competitors. 2001, Viking/Penguin Putnam, $14.99. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Karen Deans AGES: 8 9 10 11 12
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-After she attends a slumber party for ballet-crazy Rebecca and watches the ballet Cinderella on a video, hockey-playing Bea gets the bug. She begins to take lessons and really enjoys them except for a pair of mean-spirited twins who try to spoil things for everyone. Maintaining a commitment to hockey and ballet becomes challenging when Bea has an opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker and discovers how much hard work is involved in a successful performance. She also manages to thwart a plot by the twins to ruin the debut of her new friend Margaret in the role of Clara when the child selected to play the part becomes ill. Through Bea, the excitement and challenge of the ballet world are appealingly captured. The twins are convincing villains-spoiled, whining, and vindictive-and definitely deserve a boo or two for their performance. This is a fast, fun read with a feisty main character and some interesting subplots, such as the reluctance of the ballet group to cast Margaret, a talented young black dancer, in the role of Clara even though she did the best audition. As Margaret and Bea both triumph, readers will applaud their successes.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Legions of budding ballerinas attend (or perform in) annual productions of The Nutcracker, the traditional holiday production that keeps most US ballet companies financially afloat. Girls who are familiar with the ballet are the target audience for McDonnell's (It's a Deal, Dogboy, 1998, etc.) middle-grade novel about a hockey-playing girl named Bea who is bitten by the "ballet bug." The earnest young dancer advances remarkably quickly in her lessons, presumably because of her hockey skills, and after just a few weeks of ballet classes, she wins a small part in the dance school production of The Nutcracker. Short chapters follow Bea and her two friends through rehearsals and lessons, punctuated with a raft of problems caused by a pair of evil twin sisters out to eliminate the competition. Bea is a likable main character, and there is plenty of inside talk about both the backstage world and the dance school to satisfy young readers bitten by the ballet bug themselves. There are many recent picture books about dance and ballet, but few easy novels about the ballet world, and this readable though unremarkable novel will give little balletomanes something to move on to after Rachel Isadora's picture books and before Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes. (Fiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142501382
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine McDonnell, a children's librarian and the author of many books for children, lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    I Loved It

    My daughter and I are reading it together. We are both enjoying it. The story is easy flowing and the pictures are quite wonderful. Inspired by Ballet Bug, we plan to see the Nutcracker around Christmas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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