The Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former ballerina Kirkland and husband Lawrence stumble in their first book for children. Eleven-year-old Rosie officiates in a gosh-golly-gee narration: ``I'd better tell you the reader about my diary. . . . I never show it to anybody except Sugar, my horse. But Sugar's my best friend in the whole world. I'd better explain about him too.'' Rosie lives on a farm (although somehow she never seems to do any chores except those involving Sugar), writes poems to Sugar and wants to become a ballerina. Luckily, her tiny rural town does have a ballet studio large enough to stage the Nutcracker as well as a dancers' shop run by a former ballerina. But all is not roses: the ballet teacher decrees that her promising pupil give up horseback riding lest her leg muscles develop improperly. After much fretting and versifying (``but believe me, Sugar, / I am not an old rat!''), sage elders suggest the girl ride sidesaddle. With this cotton-candy offering, Kirkland and Lawrence badly underestimate their readers' intelligence. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-Written by one of the world's most famous ballerinas and her husband, this novel explores 11-year-old Rosie's emotional turmoil. She loves ballet, horseback riding, and her horse, Sugar. Because riding develops the wrong muscles for ballet, Rosie's parents tell her that she must choose between them. Eventually, her uncle comes up with a perfect solution to his niece's problem. The book is smoothly written and, although it focuses on the girl's inner thoughts and questions as she struggles to make her decision, it does include a great deal of information about the world of ballet as well as some action-packed scenes. Most of the characters are marginally developed, but readers do get a sense of the preteen's dilemma. However, the device of using poems to express her feelings is jarring and unnecessary. Stick with books about horses by Marguerite Henry or ballet stories such as Susan Farrar's Samantha on Stage (Puffin, 1990) or Sandy Asher's Just Like Jenny (Delacorte, 1982).-April L. Judge, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385469784
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 128

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