A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Ultimately the message is that artistic inspiration and family life are incompatible, and that parental abandonment is OK under some circumstances.
Positive Role Models
Clara is abandoned when one of her parents makes a selfish choice and the resolution is unsatisfying.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Clara's parents are both more concerned with their own feelings than with hers. Her abandonment is the centerpiece of the book, but isn't satisfactorily resolved.
Is It Any Good?
One can't help but wonder if the author of the book was so caught up in her romantic, fairy-tale tone that she missed the story's less-than-satisfying ending. It basically says that parents have a right to emotionally and physically leave their children if their needs are great. Instead of a conclusion that acknowledges and resolves Clara's abandonment, the "happy" ending is that Clara is left alone again only now with the understanding that to dance matters more than family ties; certainly not a message to send to kids whether their own families are intact or not.
Clara's losses are never really addressed. Better to read the book with a critical eye to the story and use it to discuss values around family obligations and explore ways we can meet our professional and personal goals without hurting the people we love the most.
Beautiful illustrations effectively convey the fairy tale tone of the book.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.