Alexandra Moss, Author, Veronica Bennett, Other . Grosset & Dunlap $4.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-448-43535-0

The Royal Ballet School Diaries jeté s to a spirited start with this tale of a 10-year-old who moves from Chicago to England with her widowed mother, who has taken a job as a professor at Oxford. Ellie shares her thoughts through diary entries interspersed throughout the narrative, and readers learn that she is anxious about starting a new life yet thrilled that she has been accepted as a Junior Associate at the Royal Ballet School. The girl makes fast friends with several classmates, yet must contend with a barrage of barbs from popular Rachel. As the time approaches to apply to the competitive ballet school as a full-time boarding student for the following year, Ellie feels apprehensive about leaving her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and she is also troubled by her mother's blossoming relationship with the mailman. Rachel makes an unrealistic about-face from nasty to nice, after learning about Ellie's father's death and mother's illness, and, given the series' title, there's little doubt about whether Ellie will apply to the ballet school—and be accepted (despite the facts that she misses her preliminary audition due to another of her mother's MS attacks and botches the final audition by crashing into another dancer). Still, Moss's facility for characterization and dialogue and her plot's carefully measured emotion will likely make readers wish to tune in for another performance. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Discover what to read next