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Ellie and the Bunheads

Overview

The author of the highly acclaimed Dog Years and Some Friend returns with a timely look at the highly competitive world of professional dance. Thirteen-year-old Ellie Lane isn't sure she's cut out to be a bunhead—one of those girls with their hair tightly knotted in a bun and leg-warmers fashionably scrunched around their ankles. She loves to dance but with ballet class every afternoon there's hardly any time to see her friends or pursue other interests. Competition is so intense that her best friend has a ...
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Overview

The author of the highly acclaimed Dog Years and Some Friend returns with a timely look at the highly competitive world of professional dance. Thirteen-year-old Ellie Lane isn't sure she's cut out to be a bunhead—one of those girls with their hair tightly knotted in a bun and leg-warmers fashionably scrunched around their ankles. She loves to dance but with ballet class every afternoon there's hardly any time to see her friends or pursue other interests. Competition is so intense that her best friend has a private coach and another is seeing a shrink. And then there's her mother who's pressuring her to audition for the prestigious Philadelphia Dance Theater. It's just too much! But by the time audition day arrives, Ellie finds a way to take her life and its decisions into her own hands. Dealing frankly but humorously with real-life issues like self-esteem, depression, parental problems, and young love, Sally Warner proves once again that she has her finger squarely on the pulse of the middle-grade reader.

Thirteen-year-old Ellie explores the ups and downs of becoming a teenager and a serious ballet dancer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard comes a gleeful romp with a pair of twins: one good and one evil. "The expansive storytelling and comic exaggeration produce high kid appeal," said PW. Ages 8-12. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Ellie, 13, loves ballet, but sometimes she doesn't know if she is dancing for herself or for her mother. Her decision about whether or not to audition for her ballet school's student company is colored by her relationship with her parents; with her friend Bella, whose parents are pressuring her to audition; and with Dawn, another dancer who is being treated for depression. The coming-of-age aspect of the story is handled nicely through Ellie's diary entries that open each chapter and an assignment to interview her ballet teacher and an older girl who has chosen to leave the company. The dance background of the story is well done and the plot moves swiftly. The main characters are fully realized, but Dawn is drawn too sketchily for readers to understand her illness. Also, the narration has many awkward sentences and phrases. Of possible interest to would-be ballerinas.Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Kirkus Reviews
Ellie, turning 13, is under pressure—a ballet audition, a milestone in her potential career, approaches. With ambitions for her daughter, Ellie's mother monitors her eating, attempts to choose her friends, and expects her to audition without necessarily taking Ellie's opinion into account. The pros and cons of a career in ballet are cleverly explored through several interviews Ellie conducts, with an enthusiastic child just starting out, a high-school senior who is giving up the life, and a dance teacher. Ellie, a girl of great individuality, chafes at the "ugly" aspects of competition and acts decisively to make her choice: to be the best in the dance world, where she ultimately feels at home. A paragraph of Ellie's comments on different aspects of her appearance opens each chapter; these underscore the obsessions encountered in the dance world, about which Ellie attempts to be sensible: She resolves to eat chocolate only on special occasions, "like a day of the week that ends with y." Ellie's experiences and observations ring true, and the ways she solves her problems make for an admirable character.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613076937
  • Publisher: Sagebrush Education Resources
  • Publication date: 3/1/2001

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