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On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC

On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC

by Rachel Isadora

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A Ballet Company dances ... across the pages of this sparkling picture book, inviting you behind the scenes and illuminating ballet terms from A to Z.

A Ballet Company dances ... for the very youngest of dancers as well as for ballet fans of all ages.


A Ballet Company dances ... across the pages of this sparkling picture book, inviting you behind the scenes and illuminating ballet terms from A to Z.

A Ballet Company dances ... for the very youngest of dancers as well as for ballet fans of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Visions of tutus will dance in readers' heads as they peruse two new ballet books. From former ballet dancer and accomplished author/artist Rachel Isadora, On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC partners jewel-toned pastel drawings with an abecedary ranging from Arabesque to Zipper. A detailed glossary describes the ballets depicted in specific pictures, defines terms and adds depth; for Zipper, for example, Isadora notes that dancers may make as many as six costume changes in a single performance. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Lush, compelling artwork draws the reader into the world of a ballet company. Each of the featured dancers is fully engaged in some aspect of ballet providing a behind the scenes treat for fans and others alike. As a former dancer, Rachel Isadora is able to bring energy and joy to her illustrations. They sparkle with vitality and realism. Each of the dancers featured is young. Isadora knows to give these athletes muscles and she shows the practice room right alongside the costumes and stage. Young readers will enjoy the complete focus on these young dancers. There are no parents, and no teachers. On these pages there is just the dancer and the dance. Curiosity will be peaked and questions raised by some of the images. Each image is accompanied by a word. A glossary in the back provides a full definition. Overall this is an excellent picture book for the reader of every age. It is a dreamy journey through a typically inaccessible world. Super! 2003, Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins Publishers,
— Elizabeth Colbroth
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This lovely book provides a dreamy look at the world of ballet. A multiculturally diverse group of boys and girls prance and pose through the alphabet, demonstrating grace, drama, and dedication. Specific terms are used, such as "D velopp ," "En pointe," and "Pas de chat" but other word choices, such as "Kiss," "Sleep," and "Zipper," are much more generic. A glossary explains the significance of the chosen words and/or the ballet to which they refer (for example, the image for K shows Titania, Queen of the Fairies, kissing the donkey in A Midsummer Night's Dream). The charming, full-page illustrations done in colored pastels capture the luminescence of this art form. Young children studying ballet will appreciate the art and may know the Firebird or who Odette is, but others will need adult assistance to make the connections between the featured items and illustrations.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The beauty and wonder of ballet welcome the reader right from the cover. Pink toes shoes on beautifully arched feet and just a hint of a tutu hold the promise of a glorious performance to come within the pages of this ABC. Isadora's (Not Just Tutus, p. 309, etc.) vibrant pastel paintings pulsate with the excitement of a Grand jet� and a Pas de chat. She takes readers Backstage for Lights and Makeup. Costumes vary from the traditional Odette and Queen to the 20th-century Firebird. There's the excitement of a Variation and the quiet formality of a R�v�rence. Each full-page painting is bordered to give it its own special focus but all blend together in smooth transitions. The "Z" for Zipper is truly inspired, ending the book on a note of grace with its backstage perspective of a ballerina in pose. Children are in the paintings even though at these ages they could not actually perform the steps. They do dream of that performance, though, and see themselves onstage. Their faces here display the fervent concentration or spirited happiness of the world of ballet from studio rehearsal to stage performance. For those readers who don't recognize the sets and costumes, Isadora provides a glossary. This is a lovely accompaniment to Peter S's's Ballerina! (2001), Patricia Lee Gauch's Tanya stories, and Isadora's own Lili at Ballet (1993). (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina—and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is a dancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

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