Vampirina Ballerina

Anne Marie Pace, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Disney-Hyperion, $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-5753-3
Pham (All the Things I Love About You) and Pace are entirely in sync in this sweetly goth "how to" for vampirettes under the spell of something more powerful than anything the dark forces can muster: ballet. "Your first step is finding the right ballet school," writes Pace, with just the right mix of vampiric hauteur and upbeat helpfulness. "I'd suggest... an evening class." The book's case in point is a spunky vampire girl (once again, Pham makes spunky feel fresh, unforced, and the furthest thing from cutesy) who, despite support from her stylish vampire parents, needs all the help she can get: "The road to ballerinadom can be bumpy," Pace reminds readers, and it's not any easier when one is alarming to one's classmates or occasionally turns into a bat. The underlying messages are familiar: there are no shortcuts to achieving an ambitious dream, and persistence and a sunny outlook (even when one is a creature of the night) pay off. But seldom have these lessons been expounded with so much charm. Ages 2–6. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/11/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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