CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006
Sadie the Ballerina.
Joan Betty Stuchner. Illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin.
Toronto, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2006.
32 pp., cloth., $14.99.
Determination (Personality trait)-Juvenile fiction.
Parent and child-Juvenile fiction.
Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.
Review by Karen Kiddey.
Sadie practiced in the kitchen.
"Mom," she said, may I go to ballet school?'
Mom said, "Oh, Sadie, wouldn't it be more fun to go to clown school?"
Sadie frowned. "But I don't want to be a clown. I want to be a ballerina."
"We'll see," said Mom.
"We'll see" were Sadie's least favourite words.
Sadie the Ballerina is the whimsical story of a rough-and-tumble little girl's passion to become a graceful ballerina. Sadie Levine is a high-energy, pigtails flying, "madly off in all directions" young child who boldly declares that she will indeed become a prima ballerina, "with
a little practice."
Her attempts at the graceful techniques of a dancer seem to end up in disaster, all at the expense of her confused cat or her patient next-door neighbour, Mr. Chow. Although Sadie believes that she is a natural, she is having some difficulty convincing her parents that ballet school, instead of clown school, would be her perfect vocation.
When the National Ballet comes to town, Sadie grabs the bull by the horns, and to her parents chagrin, slips onto the stage to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sadie's unabashed and perfectly innocent action provides the perfect comic moment in the story as we, the readers, along with Sadie's parents and the ballet audience, pause for a few tense moments as the tiny dancer bursts on to the stage. Thanks to some quick thinking and some gentle persuasion from the principal dancer, Sadie is swept into the air and gracefully passed back down to her seat, amid applause from the audience.
Sadie's wish will be granted at the end of the story when Sadie's parents, receive a note from the Sugar Plum Fairy highly recommending ballet school for the little heroine.
Sadie the Ballerina is a comical, fast-paced and fun story for children. Having persistence and believing in oneself are the underlying messages in this well-told story. The playful and lushly coloured watercolour sketches by Montreal illustrator Bruno St. Aubin capture the effervescent and magical qualities of Joan Betty Stuchner's amusing story.
Karen Kiddey is a librarian at the public library in Selkirk, MB.
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