Naughty Toes

Ann Bonwill, illus. by Teresa Murfin. Tiger Tales, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58925-430-5

Unlike her sister, Belinda, Chloe is having a rather disastrous experience in ballet class. “Naughty toes!” says Madame Mina when Chloe has trouble, but for the most part, Chloe embraces her individuality. Bonwill (Bug and Bear) and Murfin (Thanksgiving Rules) convey Chloe’s distinctiveness without sacrificing panache or overdoing the message. Chloe chooses a green leotard when others choose pink (“It has style”), her hair won’t stay in place (“Never mind,” she tells her struggling father. “It’s unique”), and she doesn’t get discouraged when she runs smack into Anthony in dance practice (“I was a cloud with gusto”). But when Belinda becomes the star of the dance recital, Chloe’s confidence falters (she’s cast as a rock). Fortunately, others see Chloe’s potential, and she discovers a new calling—tap dancing. Murfin’s chunky characterizations emphasize both Chloe’s awkwardness and her passion, while wall- paperlike textures give the book a warm, reassuring feel. Those who march (or dance) to the beat of their own drummer should take heart in this story about a girl with a mind of her own. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)