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It's a familiar story: a young girl begins dance lessons, works hard, perseveres through doubts and missteps, and eventually makes a successful debut performance. The twist here? She's a young vampire, taking evening ballet classes. Aside from a few vampire-student-specific tips (watch the fangs; don't trip on your cape when curtsying to Madame), Pace's encouraging text reads like an advice book for any young dancer. Pham's illustrations steal the show, offering plenty of visual jokes for both vampire fans (Vampirina's spider-lace costume and lack of reflection in the studio mirror) and balletomanes (she poses for a Degas-style painting and wears a "Dancing Queen" T-shirt). The watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations make excellent use of black and, of course, soft ballet pink; two foldout pages highlight Vampirina's recital with her classmates. Sound advice, good technical form, and correct terminology will help ensure that young ballerinas will, as Madame advises, "always move with your head held high." But the message that passion, dedication, and patience have beautiful results is inspirational for any reader. After all, "it doesn't matter if you take one giant leap or many tiny steps, as long as you are moving toward your goal." -katie bircher—Horn Book
PreS-Gr 2 On the advice of her mother, a pale little vampire with tiny fangs and a black cape enrolls in an evening class at Madame Sang's Dance Studio. Although the rosy-cheeked ballerinas all dressed in pink are a bit startled by their new classmate, Vampirina does her best to fit in. Under Madame's watchful eye, the little girls learn to pli , relev , and arabesque. Vampirina's mother tells her to follow Madame's instructions, to keep moving toward her goal, and to stay in tip-top shape. The aspiring ballerina practices and practices until she is ready for her debut. On the big night, she dons her costume, overcomes stage fright, and takes a well-earned bow after the performance. The sweet and spooky watercolor and pen-and-ink pictures are filled with motion and portray Vampirina's "road to ballerinadom" with humor and insight. The illustration of the opening-night performance shows the nervous dancers behind the curtain and then opens out into a four-page foldout across which the five graceful girls twirl and jet . Vampirina is just as endearing in her devotion to ballet as Katharine Holabird's dancing mouse in the popular "Angelina Ballerina" series (Viking). This story of perseverance and determination will appeal to young dancers, who will identify with Vampirina's struggles and cheer her on as she ultimately takes her triumphant bow on the flower-strewn stage. -Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Boston, MA—SLJ
In this humorous how-to guide for wannabe ballerinas, an all-in-black vampire girl attends dance class amidst a sea of pink leotards. Sure, this gal is different-none of her classmates can spontaneously transform into a bat, for instance-but she is learning technique and practicing, just like everybody else. Pace's funny, matter-of-fact advice ("always get a good day's sleep") works in harmony with Pham's expressive watercolor pen-and-ink artwork, which depicts the adorable minivampire leaping and pli ing enthusiastically across the pages. Kids who aren't into frilly will welcome this departure from typical ballerina books. - Ann Kelley—Booklist
Pace and Pham have choreographed a delightful tale of a winsome young vampire trying to make her ballerina dreams come true. The deadpan text includes plenty of good advice for anyone with dancing aspirations: "Always drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals get a good day's sleep move with your head held high," and "Practice! Practice! PRACTICE!" But this vampire differs quite a bit from her fellow dance students, with her black leotard and winged cape, her pointy fangs and her ability to "poof" into a bat at the most inopportune moment. Not only does she not fit in, but she also frightens her classmates and alarms Madame with the absence of her reflection in the studio mirror. As the evening of her big debut nears, the vampirina's supportive family rallies around her and creates a beautiful costume of spider lace and swan feathers. Then "the lights dim / the music swells, / and the curtain opens"-as does a dramatic double gatefold to reveal the five dancers executing an exuberant performance. The pen-and-ink and-watercolor illustrations paint a cozy blue-gray world for the vampires' home, contrasting with the brighter, lighter dance school portrayed in pinks. Deft strokes capture facial expressions that reveal nervousness, effort, fear, surprise, confidence and joy. By the show's end, the prima vampire has exceeded everyone's expectations, including her own. Readers will applaud this elegantly designed, well-told story. Brava, indeed. (Picture book. 3-6)—Kirkus
Posted October 18, 2013
This is a fun book about an adorable, loveable little vampirette who longingly dreams to become a dancer. She hangs posters of dancers over her coffin and her headstone is completed with quotes about dancing. She spends so much time dancing around the house that her mother and father decide it's time to starting classes. She does have challenges to overcome. She first of all has to chose a night class. She has to figure out how to perfect her form when she is unable to see herself in any of the mirrors. She has to resist the urge to take a little nip out of the other dancers and worst of all she has to conquer her Stage Fright! Oh my, what is a goth girl supposed to do? She is instructed not to show her fangs and always to get a good night's sleep. She is a fortunate little vampire because she has the full support of her family which is made up of ghouls and monsters. She focuses, is unwavering, and works very hard towards achieving her goal and executing an amazing debut performance, making friends along the way.
Although the main character is a vampire, the book is not scary at all. The two themes that run through the book are: reach your dreams through perseverance, never, ever give up. The book shows you how to deal with your feelings of inadequacy and insecurity when you are an outsider trying to fit in to mainstream despite your obvious uniqueness.
The illustrations are charming, simple, expressive and cartoon-like. The illustrator, herself an immigrant from Vietnam, knows how hard it is to assimilate into a new lifestyle. She takes the colours black, white and pink and then adds sparkles which adds such luxury and fun to them. The illustrations are pure perfection and dove-tail exactly with the text.
Vampirina learns that, "Even without wings, you can leap higher than you think."
Posted August 22, 2013
My 5 year old loves this book so much she carries it around. The story is sweet and appropriate and the illustrations are beautiful. Along the same lines as Fancy Nancy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2013
This is a sweet, affirming book. I gave it as a gift and the parent of the recipient was thrilled. Not only is Vampirina adorable with a host of equally adorable and comic friends, but it has a wonderful theme. We all want our children to strive toward their goals whether or not they "fit the mold." Encore!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.