My daughter, 6, is interested in ballet as so many other girls her age are. It is part of the package of being a girl: ponies, ballet, and pink. She asked me to get some books about dance, and I brought home a stack of over 20 from the library. These are the ones that made the cut by being worth reading, not amplifying the ballet message too much, and keeping the kids’ attention. My son, 3, also really loves reading these.
Tallulah’s Solo, a book in the Tallulah series, features an older sister/younger brother relationship. Tallulah envisions herself being the best dancer and getting adoring attention from her fans while the other dancers are relegated to the background. She spends her time in class both practicing but also trying to keep her brother in line. When he gets a better part in the ballet, she is upset, but with some support comes around to repair her relationship and then the two siblings get a dual role in the next ballet. My kids request this one over and over.
Ballerina Rosie, one of Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York’s series to highlight red-headed protagonists in a positive light, hits my daughter’s interests on so many fronts. It has pink, it has a red-headed girl protagonist (with the same name!), and it is about ballet. In this story, Rosie loves to dance until she takes lessons and seems to lack the ability. After a wonderful gesture from her teacher, Rosie gets her confidence back, and she finds that was all that was missing.
Barn Dance was one of the books I got to broaden the scope from just ballet. In this charming story, the animals all sneak into the barn at night to have an old-fashioned barn dance, and the farmer’s boy happens to see it happening and tags along. Written in a lyrical style that evokes fiddle tunes, the writing matches the theme, and I often read it to a dance tune.
A similarly themed book, Tap-Dance Fever, features a tap-dancing girl who just can’t stop. She passes through her rural setting tapping her toes on everything. The townsfolk try all kinds of solutions to stop her, but she persists. In the end, her dancing is a boon for the town and all the people who were disgruntled by it originally. A fun read with an indomitable female protagonist whose do-good attitude is refreshing.
The last book to make the cut is Color Dance. This one combines dance with color mixing as children dance through the pages with scarves of different colors. It is very visual and puts a spin on the usual dance stories being about a person.