Ballerina Rosie

illus. by Diane Goode. 32p. CIP. S & S/Paula Wiseman Bks. Aug. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3066-2; ebook $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3067-9. LC 2011019440.
PreS-Gr 2—Young Rosie loves dance. She points, leaps, and twirls through daily activities, wearing a tutu wherever she goes. But when she starts ballet school, her unshakable belief that she's destined to be a prima ballerina develops a quaver or two. For readers with similar aspirations, this picture book has some attractions. Goode's delicate brush, pen-and-ink, and pastel illustrations have a Disney-esque charm. Balletic poses abound, energized by swirls of color to indicate motion. But the repetitive white background with small figures would benefit from more artistic variety and emotional oomph, and so would the story. Rosie talks about, practices, and worries about her dancing. Apart from a few pictures of her wearing a pink tutu as she plays baseball, climbs trees, or stands on the diving board, readers learn little about her. When dancing school leaves her discouraged, a deus ex machina emerges from an unlikely source and pronounces a moral message that's not only facile but also contradictory. With an abundance of satisfying ballet books in print, including Marilyn Singer's Tallulah's Tutu (Clarion, 2011) and James Mayhew's "Ella Bella Ballerina" stories (Barron's), this is only for the most enthusiastic readers and dancers.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Rosie always loved to dance at home with Bear, but her love falters when she struggles in her new ballet class. A gift of special ballet slippers from her encouraging teacher gives Rosie the confidence to dance her best. The message isn't subtle; but the spare, delicately colored brush, pen-and-ink, and pastel illustrations, set on plentiful white space, allow the movement of dancing to dominate.

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