cover image Emma and Julia Love Ballet

Emma and Julia Love Ballet

Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-89401-2

Though they do not meet until the end of the book, two ballerinas—an African-American young woman named Julia and a Caucasian girl named Emma—mirror each other throughout the day. McClintock (My Grandfather’s Coat) uses a warm narrative voice and precise illustrations to highlight the similarities and differences between their routines: “They both stretch and move until their muscles are warm,” and while “Some of Emma’s friends dream of dancing on Broadway. Some of Julia’s friends do dance on Broadway.” Beyond emphasizing the care and passion both Emma and Julia bring to their dancing, McClintock does a lovely job of building tension as Julia’s evening performance approaches, one that Emma sees in person. Writing and drawing with an understated grace that dovetails perfectly with the subject matter, McClintock emphasizes how childhood aspirations can become attainable realities. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jennie Dunham, Dunham Literary. (Feb.)