Ballet terms abound in this beautifully illustrated, advanced-concept counting book written by dance teacher and debut author Malek-Ahmadi.
Counting down from 10 to two, then zero, then back up to one, this book shows ballet students performing many familiar—and less familiar—moves and positions. As the story opens, all 10 dancers, depicted in a variety of skin tones and gender expressions, stand at or near the barre performing “Pliés, tendus, dégagés all looking fine. // One chaînés away and now there are // Nine.” As the students leave the room in a variety of moves, the rhyme scheme for each number in the countdown has an odd rhythm. The first line, which describes the remaining group of students, has no rhyming word. The second and third lines, which lead to the next number in the countdown, use a rhyming couplet typical of counting books. The text, full of French words and terms, may cause some young readers and their parents to stumble, but a partially illustrated glossary offers helpful pronunciation tips and translations. Gutkovskiy, whose action-packed ink-and-watercolor illustrations have appeared in books such as Bad Bad Dog (2020), accurately depicts the different positions and movements, making them recognizable to young dancers. A twist at the end, in which the students return to celebrate their teacher, leaves readers with a cheery tone.
A challenging, inventive tale that works best for young dancers.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 32
Publisher: The Small-Tooth Dog Publishing Group
Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2020