I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina

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9780689846762: I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina

Every girl remembers her first trip to the ballet: the anticipation beforehand, the orchestra's first notes, the ethereal beauty of the ballerinas. This is a tale of one such girl who was caught up in ballet's mesmerizing spell and became one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.

In a story drawn from her memoirs, Anna Pavlova describes her first visit to the ballet to see the Sleeping Beauty. With simple, childlike language, she captures her love for her mother, the splendor of the ballet, and the moments that changed her life. The words are matched with paintings, pastels, and drawings of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, to give this story all the magic of a fairytale.

Complete with short biographies of Pavlova and Degas, I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina will delight any child with ballerina dreams.

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Review:

A young girl's discovery of ballet is combined with the magic of French Impressionist Edgar Degas's paintings to create a story as delicate and lovely as the ballerina herself. Drawn from the 1922 autobiography of prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, this reminiscence tells of her first trip to the ballet to see Sleeping Beauty with her mother. Her youthful words reflect the sweet wonder of the experience, as well as the gentle love between mother and child. The moment the breathless Pavlova voices her desire to dance on the stage one day, followed by her mother's response that she is "her silly little dear," is made all the more poignant by the reader's knowledge that this particular little girl's dream did come true.

Filled with the enchanting details of the ballet, and perfectly accompanied by the famous ballerina paintings of Degas, this is a book to be treasured by dancers, art lovers, and devotees of ballet alike. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

From School Library Journal:

K-Gr 2-The story of the famous early-20th-century ballerina, drawn from Pavlova's memoir, Pages of My Life (Michel de Brunoff, 1922; o.p.). Although very poor, her widowed mother was able to take young Anna to a performance of Sleeping Beauty. It had a profound effect upon the child and her dream from that moment on was to become a ballerina and perform in that same theater-the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg. The language of the text is highly stylized, formal, and spare, albeit appropriate both for the story it tells and for the time in which it was originally told. The few sentences per page are dramatically illustrated by the paintings of Degas, and the selections for this text artfully enhance the words with their beauty. There is a pleasing variety of subjects (including musicians and audiences) and perspectives (dancers up close and from afar, in class, and on stage), and text and illustration are in a balanced counterpoint. A lovely pairing occurs when Pavlova's words about her newly discovered passion for ballet appear next to a pencil sketch of a young girl practicing at the bar. This understated moment is followed by a wordless full-spread presentation of The Dance Class, an exuberant painting of ballerinas, color, movement, and anticipation. The contrast is breathtaking. End notes provide more details about Pavlova's life and about Degas's ballet-inspired art.

Dorian Chong, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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