cover image Ballerina: My Story: Ballerina: My Story

Ballerina: My Story: Ballerina: My Story

Darci Kistler. Aladdin Paperbacks, $3.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64437-6

Scheduled to coincide with the release of the movie George Balanchine's The Nutcracker , Kistler's sunny autobiography is presented as a fairy tale come true. It doesn't quite ``tell you all about what it's like to be a ballerina,'' but it provides a rose-colored-glasses look at her astonishing career. Growing up in awe of four champion-athlete older brothers, Kistler recalls that she determined to become a dancer when, at age five, she saw Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Young balletomanes will appreciate the inside look at ballet studios and, in particular, at New York's prestigious School of American Ballet, in which Kistler enrolled at 14, leaving her family in California. She plays down her own talent, loudly praising all her teachers, especially ``Mr. B.,'' and emphasizing the importance of hard work and sacrifice. But although she supplies a few particulars (feeling like a wallflower in an adagio class where the girls drastically outnumber the boys; her embarrassment at some onstage mistakes), she never quite conveys the fabric of her life. Her love of ballet ultimately defies her ability to articulate it: ``Ballet is about beauty, and . . . the ballerina, her partner, and the other dancers make beauty come to life.'' Ages 8-12. (Dec.)