The Best Book of Ballet

Book review by
Tanya Smith, Common Sense Media
The Best Book of Ballet Book Poster Image
A step in the right direction for budding dancers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that realistic illustrations and simple writing encourage readers to try ballet steps and attend a ballet performance.

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What's the story?

Discover how prima ballerinas perform pirouettes and arabesques with this ballet book for beginners. Dozens of informative illustrations show off basic ballet steps and positions. Youngsters are treated to a backstage look at the steps that go into creating a successful ballet production, from costumes and make-up to set design.


Is it any good?

THE BEST BOOK OF BALLET is a step in the right direction for budding ballerinas eager to twist and leap their way across the living room. Color illustrations show how to stand in the five basic positions, and how to bend hands and feet gracefully. This is a good primer for children about to attend their first ballet performance. The book informs children what ballet steps to look for, and how to better recognize and interpret dancers' dramatic gestures.

The book traces ballet's evolution from its birth in France and Italy in the 1500s and 1600s through romantic and classical ballet to modern ballet. A little ballerina graces the cover, and the endpapers are satin-shoe pink. The illustrations run the gamut from wide-angle dance performance pictures to tight shots of dancers' made-up faces. Unfortunately, all the artwork has a generic quality about it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the hard work that goes into a ballet production. What sacrifices do top dancers make for their craft? What challenges do they face?

Book details

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