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Friday, September 9, 2016

The Cranky Ballerina, by Elise Gravel. Harper, 2016. $21.99 ages 5 and up

"Miss Pointy calls
on Ada. "Let's see
your pirouette!"
Ada gets into
fourth position.

And ...


Cranky seems a totally appropriate descriptor if you look closely at Ada's demeanor as portrayed on the cover of this energetic and telling book. She is obviously irritated  as she prepares for her Saturday morning ballet class. She hates everything about the day ... tight leotard, itchy tutu, nauseating car trip, and unwanted arrival at her neighborhood sports center. Her companion monster seems much more amenable to all that is happening in class, while also commiserating with his friend for how she is feeling.

"It's not her thing!"

Unwilling to practise the suggested movements, she finally attempts a pirouette - performing it badly but with surprising results. She lands in a karate class next door where her real skills are noticed, and appreciated. Perhaps she has finally found her calling in this much more appropriate (for her) place.

Is doing what Ada wants to do more important than what her parents have decided for her? It is a gentle message ... one worthy of this quirky, spunky young lady. Told with heart, humor and a healthy dose of 'tongue-in-cheek', parents and teachers are sure to enjoy sharing this story. The funny details found in its illustrations and the welcome speech bubbles add drama and hilarity.

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