Ella Bella Ballerina and 'The Sleeping Beauty'

James Mayhew, Author . Barron's $14.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7641-6118-6

Ballet and fairy tales, a sure-fire combination for romantically minded young readers, receive the friendliest of treatments in this handsome, oversize volume. Ella Bella is captivated when Madame Rosa instructs the class (“my darlings”) to “imagine you are fairies” and plays the music from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet. Intrigued, Ella stays after class, opens Madame Rosa's music box and, “just like magic,” the music starts and she dances herself into the fairy tale. The Lilac Fairy guides her through the various dramas and happy ending. Mayhew's (Katie Meets the Impressionists ) light touch keeps the story from being overblown or fussy: when Ella sees the spindle being proffered to Princess Aurora, she “remembered the bad fairy's spell. 'Don't touch it!' she called. But Aurora did not hear.” The breezy, dynamic lines of his illustrations, as well as the subdued colors, make the magical turn of events seem entirely natural. While Mayhew offers no surprises, his easygoing delivery is bound to engage anyone whose imagination is inspired by music, dancing, princes and princesses. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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