My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you or your child is an art lover Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt is for you. I purchased this to use in my classroom years ago back in 1999. Never in my wildest dreams did I allow myself to believe I would one day read this to my son or daughter, but I just did. And the most amazing thing is that my daughter picked this out of a stack of books for me to read to her. My daughter is only two, so the story is a bit wordy for her, but again the amazing thing is that she loved it. Professionally, I would recommend this book for children between the ages of two and five.
The story moves back and forth from present day to the time of Degas. A museum guard tells the story of the real Little Dancer. Her story is one of a poor girl, Marie, who dreams of being the most famous ballerina in all of Paris. She reaches for her dreams and, in so doing, she meets the famous painter, Degas. Their interactions are poignant and feel authentic even though his temper is another thing he is famous for sharing. Marie does not reach the heights she hoped for on the stage, but rather in museums all over the world.
The illustrations are gorgeous, but what I love the most are the reproductions of the real art work of Degas that also liter the pages. I have always admired the artist of this era, and in particular Degas. I am lucky enough to have seen the real Little Dancer many, many times on my visits to the Virginia Museum, and I look forward to reading this many more times with my daughter, and when she is old enough we will make the drive to the "big city" to see the statue together. I know just where to look. I love this book...and more importantly, so does my daughter.
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