cover image An Unlikely Ballerina

An Unlikely Ballerina

Krystyna Poray Goddu, illus. by Cosei Kawa. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5124-8362-8

As a child, Lily Marks’s legs required straightening. Faced with the prospect of wearing uncomfortable and unsightly leg braces, Marks and her parents were intrigued by a doctor’s suggestion to instead try dancing lessons. As her legs gained strength, Marks’s natural talents emerged. Goddu (a PW reviewer) describes the young dancer’s admiration for Anna Pavlova, another Jewish ballerina of her time, who kindly invites Marks to perform for her and offers words of encouragement—words Marks never forgets en route to becoming ballerina Alicia Markova. Kawa’s art conjures the grace of a ballet performance, and Marks and other figures have an ethereal, nymphlike presence on the page. An afterword offers photographs of Marks in plain clothes at age 13 and in costume as an adult. A gentle portrayal of an artist undeterred by physical limitations. Ages 5–10. [em](Sept.) [/em]