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Monday, April 9, 2012

Tallulah's Solo, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Clarion, Thomas Allen & Son. 2012. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"She was sure her little brother, Beckett, would become an excellent ballet dancer, too. She was glad he wanted to learn ballet. She could picture him, back straight, arms graceful, dancing behind her with the other kids while she did her perfect solo."

It is such a pleasure to meet up with Tallulah and her brother Beckett once again. They are a delightful duo and I am happy to catch up with them as they work hard to become a new generation of ballet sensations.

Tallulah knows it is in the stars for her. As she watches her little brother become distracted on multiple occasions, she is not so sure that he has appreciated her ardent attempts at mentoring him into her artistic circle:

"Throughout his class, he paid attention only some of the time He held first position for just a few seconds before kicking his feet from side to side. He giggled when the teacher said, "Show me beautiful arms." He picked his nose."

Tallulah remains firm in her belief that she will be 'the one' selected for a solo performance in the upcoming recital. When Mr. Fontaine, a choreographer, announces a new ballet called The Frog Prince, Tallulah pictures herself kissing the frog. She harbors a hope that Beckett might be chosen to play a lily pad in that frog's pond.

Imagine her surprise when parts are announced and her hopes are dashed!  Her anger is directed at her little brother:

"She did not talk to him when her class began.
During rehearsals she did not look at him while he learned his duet with the princess. Mr. Fontaine and her teacher were paying ENOUGH attention to him."

But Beckett needs help and who can he turn to...only his big sister whose encouragement led to his interest in ballet in the first place. It is up to Tallulah to decide what she will do.

The whimsical watercolor artwork is a real delight. I love all the little details that Alexandra Boiger adds to the pages, giving us a clear and welcome look at Tallulah, her family and her aspirations. The light that infuses each double page spread, the spots that add humor, and the fully realized expressions on every face invited me back for a much closer look, time and time again.

Birthday coming up for a young ballerina? Christmas? You can't go wrong by wrapping both of Tallulah's stories in one big bow!

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