cover image Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey

Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Hyperion Books, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56282-413-6

In their first children's book collaboration, this markedly talented husband-and-wife team offers a warm profile of dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989), whose dance company lives on today. The author deftly combines elements of fiction and biography, intertwining Ailey's alleged thoughts and conversations with facts about his childhood, his introduction to the world of dance in Los Angeles during the mid-1940s and his founding of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City in 1958. This effective amalgam of genres easily draws the reader into Ailey's life, lending it appeal for those previously unacquainted with the legendary artist as well as for young fans eager to learn how Ailey launched his impressive career. Matching the finesse of the writing are Brian Pinkney's signature scratchboard renderings handpainted with oil pastels, which manage to convey stateliness as well as quickness, and which culminate in a vivid, motion-filled spread featuring dancers in Ailey's company reeling across the stage--and seemingly right off the pages. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)