Miss Tutu's Star

( 2 )

Overview

Selena is a little girl “who does not walk so much as twirl.” When her mother takes her to Miss Tutu’s school of ballet, Selena has a bit of trouble with some of the steps, but still she practices and practices to get them right. Finally the time comes for Selena to make her debut. But she is terrified. Will her fear stop her from becoming Miss Tutu’s star?

Lesléa Newman’s lyrical and humorous story about achieving one’s dream is perfectly matched with Carey Armstrong-Ellis’s ...

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Overview

Selena is a little girl “who does not walk so much as twirl.” When her mother takes her to Miss Tutu’s school of ballet, Selena has a bit of trouble with some of the steps, but still she practices and practices to get them right. Finally the time comes for Selena to make her debut. But she is terrified. Will her fear stop her from becoming Miss Tutu’s star?

Lesléa Newman’s lyrical and humorous story about achieving one’s dream is perfectly matched with Carey Armstrong-Ellis’s witty and charming illustrations, which are filled with little stories of their own.

F&P level: I
F&P genre: RF

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Selena (“Who did not walk so much as twirl,/ Who did not skip so much as prance”) wants to be a ballerina, but her untidy black hair, round chin, and pudgy tummy are conspicuously unballerinalike. She could have a teacher who is scornful of her dancing dreams, but Miss Tutu is the ballet teacher everyone wishes for, and this is as much her story as it is Selena’s. “What matters most is from the start,/ My dear, you’ve always danced with heart,” she reassures Selena after a fall, holding her close. Selena responds by working hard, not just for one class, but for several years. When Selena finally finishes her starring role in the big recital (which ends in slapstick disaster), Miss Tutu is waiting in the wings: “Selena looked about. ‘What now?’/ Miss Tutu whispered, ‘Take your bow.’ ” Ellis’s (The Twelve Days of Springtime) slightly clunky mixed media cartoons have the same uneasy relationship to Newman’s (Just Like Mama) crisp verse as Selena does to the world of ballet, but they do a good job of portraying Selena’s changing emotions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2—In this rhyming story, Selena loves to twirl and prance, so her mother enrolls her in Miss Tutu's Dance Academy. As parents and younger siblings look on, the teacher instructs her students in the elements of ballet and encourages them when they are less than elegant. Finally, the children are ready for their first recital. Although the production does not go quite as smoothly as they would have hoped, thanks to Miss Tutu's cat and an errant mouse, the audience of friends and family gives Selena and her fellow dancers a rousing ovation for their efforts. Selena is a slightly chubby and not-inherently graceful girl with plenty of bounce and a determination to succeed. The plain-looking dance instructor and her class of ordinary girls and boys should inspire youngsters who like to dance but are not natural swans. Armstrong-Ellis's gouache and colored-pencil illustrations add comic touches. Readers will want to follow the cat's antics and keep an eye on the scarf that Selena's mother knits as the tale progresses. The protagonist is a likable character with lots of heart. Many children will recognize themselves in this agreeable offering.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
Kirkus Reviews

Little spike-haired Selena so loves dance that her mother enrolls her in Miss Tutu's ballet school, where she demonstrates passion and style but no grace. She learns her steps, studies hard and two years later makes her stage debut in a student recital. The story is told in AABB rhyming quatrains with occasional awkward scanning. The illustrations are colorful and portray a multicultural array of boys and girls engaged in something more akin to awkward but energetic physical movement than the more precise study of ballet steps. Selena's round face and round derriere displayed in her stage bow after a performance that literally knocks over her fellow students are not likely to be seen in any serious ballet school, nor would a ballet teacher demonstrate standing on pointe to such little children. Selena's constant mix-ups are balanced by her determination, an admirable quality but not one that would overcome her deficits in any real-world ballet situation. Pink glitter on the cover doesn't quite elevate this to the level of necessary purchase. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810983960
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 703,342
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.98 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesléa Newman is the author of fifty books for adults and children, including Eight Nights of Chanukah and Just Like Mama. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Visit her online at www.lesleakids.com.

Carey Armstrong-Ellis is the illustrator of the bestselling Twelve Days books. She lives in Cape Neddick, Maine. Visit her online at www.slugworksrocks.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Adorable Story

    For all of us with two left feet, this story illustrates how desire and heart can make even the biggest clutz a star.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 13, 2010

    delightful tale about a girl with a dream

    Did you ever have a time, perhaps while giving a speech in school or playing a piece for a piano recital, when you had to perform before a lot of people and were afraid? Selena is a little girl "who does not walk so much as twirl." So her mother enrolls her in Miss Tutu's Dance Academy. At first Selena has a little trouble with some of the steps, but Miss Tutu says "You've' got guts." This encourages Selena to practice and learn, and even though she still makes mistakes, she presses on. Then comes the time for her debut, and she is terrified. What will she do? And how will it all turn out?
    To be truthful, ballet has never been among my personally favorite expressions of the arts. However, many girls, and boys too, enjoy ballet. And there is more to this book than just ballet. The rhyming text by Leslea Newman, who is the author of more than fifty books for adults and children, including the lovely Just Like Mama, and the humorous illustrations by Carey Armstrong-Ellis combine to tell a delightful and funny tale about a girl with a dream and the teacher who encourages her. Miss Tutu's Star provides a great example of how being positive can help young children achieve their goals. It can serve to motivate not only ballerinas and, um "ballerdudes," but all youngsters to do their best and "reach for the stars."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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