Both a haunting fairy tale and a parable for families separated by divorce or death, this lyrically rendered story also presents art as a vehicle for transcending pain. In a long-ago village, Clara lives with her silent father and loving grandmother, who tells her about her absent mother, a lover of music and dance. When musicians come to the village, Clara cannot resist their lure and slips away to the forest to dance with them at night; she comes close to joining them, but her father stops her-by coming out to the forest, recognizing his wife among the dancers, joining her briefly and forgiving her for leaving: "I understand you can't come back." Ehrlich (Baby Dragon) knows precisely how to turn description into the foundation of fairy tale (as Clara wades across a river, "the edge of her nightgown grew dark with water"), and her bittersweet ending barricades the story against didacticism. Working in a representational style, Walsh (How the Tiny People Grew Tall) adds lush paintings of an idealized old world, and her nighttime scenes glow. Ages 6-10. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Girl Who Wanted to Danceby Amy Ehrlich, Rebecca Walsh
Clara lives with her father and grandmother in a little village. More than anything, Clara loves to dance, but her father has had too much sadness in his life to abide dancing. When Clara sees a troupe of/b>
The call to self expression haunts a delicate, poignant tale about family and art, love and longing — and the ineffable tie between parent and child.
Clara lives with her father and grandmother in a little village. More than anything, Clara loves to dance, but her father has had too much sadness in his life to abide dancing. When Clara sees a troupe of dancers performing in the village one June day, she is enchanted enough to follow their wagons deep into the forest — and what she finds there changes her life forever. This bewitching fairy tale by master storyteller Amy Ehrlich, tenderly illustrated by Rebecca Walsh, honors the call to the artistic life and acknowledges with compassion the pain of those left behind.
Raised by her somber father, Clara is enchanted by her grandmother's joyful stories about her mother's dancing. After Granny's death, her father becomes even more withdrawn, keeping the curtains closed and discouraging music. One summer a troupe of musicians and dancers arrives in the village. The eight-year-old sneaks out to see their performance and later follows their wagon tracks to their next destination. In the forest, a kindhearted dancer helps Clara to discover her own dancing talent before sending her back home. Infatuated with the life of a traveling dancer, however, she decides to leave her silent home for good. Her father pursues her, and his dramatic arrival ends with the revelation that the woman who befriended Clara is her mother. The child returns home to live with her father-who has been miraculously relieved of his sadness-and Clara looks forward to joining her mother when she is older. Ehrlich's tale may charm early elementary girls if they are patient enough to listen to the entire story, but adults will be left shaking their heads at the coincidences and unrealistic developments. Of greater concern is the possibility that children who have lost a parent may receive false hope of a reunion. Walsh's gentle period paintings set a cozy and inviting tone, but libraries should consider this an additional purchase.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
- Candlewick Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.90(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 6 - 9 Years
Meet the Author
Amy Ehrlich is an accomplished author and editor of many books for children and young adults, including BABY DRAGON, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, and the anthologies WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE, VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO. She lives in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Rebecca Walsh has illustrated several books, including HOW THE TINY PEOPLE GREW TALL by Nancy Wood and THE WELL AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Robert D. San Souci. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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