Ellie and the Bunheads

Ellie and the Bunheads

by Sally Warner
     
 

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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 toSee more details below

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Ellie loves ballet, but perhaps not as much as her controlling mother loves it-or, more accurately, relishes the idea of her daughter becoming a "real dancer." Her mother assumes Ellie will audition for a slot in a student dance company, but Ellie isn't sure she wants the extra strain on her already crowded schedule. Trying to discern "where what-she-wants stops and where what-I-want starts" is among several challenges facing the sixth-grader heroine of Warner's plausible and perceptive novel. A friend of Case Hill and Ned Ryan (protagonists of Dog Years and Some Friend who play minor roles here), Ellie copes with insecurities about her body and her dancing talent, and with concern over her parents' strained marriage and her own relationships-delicately poised between competitive and supportive-with her fellow "bunheads" in ballet school. Though a bit repetitious, Ellie's verbal tug-of-war with her mother consistently rings true, as does the dialogue that gives this narrative its fleet pace. And while the ballet-school backdrop is a little formulaic in its presentation, it adds gloss to a clear-sighted portrayal of early adolescence.
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 - 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:
9780679982296
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
05/01/1997
Pages:
150
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.66(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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