Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty
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Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty

4.0 1
by James Mayhew
     
 

Little Ella Bella loves attending Madame Rosa’s ballet class at the old theater. Most of all she loves the music that plays from Madame Rosa’s special music box, the theme from The Sleeping Beauty ballet. One day, after ballet class has ended, Ella Bella is left alone with the music box on the theater stage. As its music begins playing, Ella is

Overview


Little Ella Bella loves attending Madame Rosa’s ballet class at the old theater. Most of all she loves the music that plays from Madame Rosa’s special music box, the theme from The Sleeping Beauty ballet. One day, after ballet class has ended, Ella Bella is left alone with the music box on the theater stage. As its music begins playing, Ella is transported to the magical world where the Sleeping Beauty’s story takes place. Entering the palace of Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty, Ella meets all the story’s characters—not only the good ones, but also the sinister bad fairy—and she sees the famous story unfold before her very eyes. Here is an unusually imaginative retelling of the classic fairy tale, with illustrations that capture the story’s magic and mystery. A brief postscript on the book’s final page summarizes the history of ballet from its origins during the Italian Renaissance to the late nineteenth-century, when the famous Russian composer Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky wrote music for The Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ballet and fairy tales, a sure-fire combination for romantically minded young readers, receive the friendliest of treatments in this handsome, oversize volume. Ella Bella is captivated when Madame Rosa instructs the class ("my darlings") to "imagine you are fairies" and plays the music from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet. Intrigued, Ella stays after class, opens Madame Rosa's music box and, "just like magic," the music starts and she dances herself into the fairy tale. The Lilac Fairy guides her through the various dramas and happy ending. Mayhew's (Katie Meets the Impressionists) light touch keeps the story from being overblown or fussy: when Ella sees the spindle being proffered to Princess Aurora, she "remembered the bad fairy's spell. 'Don't touch it!' she called. But Aurora did not hear." The breezy, dynamic lines of his illustrations, as well as the subdued colors, make the magical turn of events seem entirely natural. While Mayhew offers no surprises, his easygoing delivery is bound to engage anyone whose imagination is inspired by music, dancing, princes and princesses. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

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Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Do all books for young ballet-lovers have to star little girls in pink tutus? Here is another one from England, reminiscent of Adele Geras's Little Ballet Star, which also attempts to introduce readers to The Sleeping Beauty, as if ballet is all about nineteenth-century story ballets full of sparkly costumes, fairies, and "ballerinas." Readers should not forget that this title must be earned; it is not generic for female dancers. Ella Bella takes class from elegant Madame Rosa—surely there cannot be many Madame Rosas around these days—who plays her Sleeping Beauty music box and starts telling the story. As Ella dances onstage, the Lilac Fairy materializes to take the little girl to Princess Aurora's birthday party. It must be said that this book, unlike Geras's, does show the wicked Carabosse (without her customary spectacular entrance), though Mayhew's costumes are a mishmash of medieval and Romantic. Later, Ella Bella witnesses the wedding scene, where costumes jump from medieval to 17th century in a mere hundred years. At least, in Mayhew's illustrations some men are present—the Prince, the King (who does not dance), soldiers, courtiers, and fairytale characters Hop-O'-My-Thumb, Puss in Boots, Red Riding Hood's Wolf, and the Bluebird, male roles all. While the pictures are charming, few American children ever see a complete performance of Sleeping Beauty (beloved of Royal Ballet fans); they deserve books showing them clearly that ballet is a vital art— not a museum of dance history, but a source of inspiration and dynamic careers for boys and girls alike. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

After her ballet class, a girl waits on a deserted stage, listening to Madame Rosa's music box play melodies from The Sleeping Beauty . The Lilac Fairy appears in a stream of lavender light and takes Ella Bella into the ballet, flying from scene to scene, watching yet being part of the story. The shadowy theater becomes bright, and Mayhew's illustrations become more dramatic. When Princess Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle and falls asleep, the Lilac Fairy casts a spell so that everyone sleeps for a hundred years. Time magically passes, and they visit another kingdom to find a prince, who awakens the princess with a kiss. After the royal wedding, the music ends and Ella Bella is alone on the stage once more. Madame Rosa finds her and promises that the music box will play a different tune next time. This light and lovely book will hold little girls in its thrall. Add Tchaikovsky's music to set the stage for a lively read-aloud.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780764161186
Publisher:
Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/30/2008
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
232,200
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 12.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


James Mayhew was born in Blundeston, a tiny village in Suffolk, England. Today he lives with his wife and son in Letchworth Garden City, England. The author and illustrator of many popular children’s books, James Mayhew claims that he began writing so that he would have something to illustrate. Ella Bella Ballerina and The Sleeping Beauty is his first book published by Barron’s.

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Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
heatherj25 More than 1 year ago
A very imaginative story, with lovely illustrations. A great way to introduce kids to classic ballet. Little girls (probably 3+) and ballet lovers would enjoy this book.