BUNHEADS Review – Ballerina Dreams

Credit: Penguin Random House

From the moment the little ballerina on the cover slipped from the envelope that covered her, the graceful, triumphant painting on the cover of BUNHEADS telegraphed ballet perfection. Her legs seem twice as long as the average human’s, her shadow trailing behind her could be the figure whirling in an open music box. The story that unfolds in lively and animated paintings is indeed a ballet fairytale come to life. Young Misty Copeland wins the starring role in her very first ballet recital: the human woman Swanilde, the hero of the tale of Coppelia. Even the fly leaves provide ballet inspiration in their simple line drawing breakdowns of steps from the ballet. Within the story’s pages, painted ballerinas whirl and leap and, in one especially memorable image, young Misty’s leg whirls in a many legged circle that stretches from the floor to above her head in a move the book identifies as a rond de jambe to tendu front.

Credit: Penguin Random House

BUNHEADS fills the longing for ballet studios that can’t currently be filled

The ballet credentials of this story are irrefutable and it certainly appealed to the aspiring ballerina half of this reviewing team. We even got up off the couch to see if our legs could move like Misty’s (they could not). It should appeal to any young ballerinas or ballet fans. Those who might be missing out on ballet classes in the current era will enjoy the precision and sense of motion contained in the illustrations.

This is a story of effortless mastery, as every challenge attempted by our young hero is easily achieved.  We share a joyful celebration of one of ballet’s biggest stars and the smooth path to stardom she apparently danced down. It portrays every dancer as thin, graceful and superb, just not quite as adept as young Misty. It may be Misty’s first class, but she’s already steady on the points of her shoes. Effort, sweat, and athleticism are downplayed as the young ballerinas on these pages practice their parts and easily improve. For this reason the story will appeal to younger dancers, or children who haven’t yet taken ballet but like to imagine themselves flying across the stage in sparkling tutus and tiaras. Older kids who have danced long enough to know it’s not all starring roles and roses will likely love this tale anyway, if they are Misty Copeland fans. This reviewer places the peak age interest between 4-8 years old.


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For more information and to purchase this title, visit the Penguin Random House page for Bunheads

Images provided by Penguin Random House.

nell voss
Nell Voss and Sylvia Holstein

About the Author: Nell Voss and Sylvia Holstein

Why have we ceded so much of our lives and our space to the automobile? 

Nell Voss can think of many better uses for urban space. She spends most of her free time imagining cities with forests instead of traffic corridors and vegetable gardens instead of parking lots. She’s also spent a large part of the last fifteen years writing (plays, screenplays, novels and reviews), or directing (plays, films, her child’s schedule). She lives in Chicago where she loves to watch plays, read novels, grow food and spend as much of the summer at the beach as she possibly can.

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