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Dancing With Katya School & Library Binding – August, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3–Anna and her little sister, Katya, love to dance together and pretend to be ballerinas. At the age of five, the younger child contracts polio and becomes disabled. She wonders if she will ever be able to dance again. Anna is hopeful, but, despite treatment, her sister remains unable even to walk without the aid of braces. She buys some dainty white gloves and sews pink ribbons on them to make ballerina gloves, and Katya is able to dance with her arms, which strengthens her spirit. The delicate watercolor illustrations are marred by inconsistencies in the drawings of the characters. Personal notes from both the author and illustrator tell how polio affected their families. An explanation of the disease, including details of President Roosevelts affliction, is helpful. A sincere, nostalgic effort.–Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Until polio strikes her at the age of five, Katya's favorite game is dancing with her big sister, Anna, and imagining herself a ballerina. After the initial sickness passes, leaving Katya unable to walk, she is taken to a faraway hospital where she faces mysterious procedures. She returns, tired and sad. Heavy boots and metal braces help her to walk, but dancing is a faded dream. Anna seeks and finds a way to lead her sister back to the happiness they have shared. Evidently set in the late 1910s, the story concerns the sisters' feelings and relationship as well as the changes brought about by the disease. Full of light, the watercolor illustrations capture the spirit of the story, though Anna looks years younger in some pictures than in others. Children attracted merely by the ballet shoes on the jacket will find a more complex, emotionally resonant story than they might expect. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • School & Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Pub Ltd (J); 1 edition (August 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561453765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561453764
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've always been a storyteller, a singer of nursery rhymes, a twister of truth. The oldest girl in a family of seven kids, I used my survival skills as a storyteller to keep my younger siblings from maiming each other in poking wars. I loved books and I'd read for hours. And I would 'live' in those stories. If the hero suffered, so did I. I once roller skated around our block twenty-eight times in a snow storm, mentally fighting the elements in the Yukon. I froze my butt off, but let me tell you - it was perfect suffering!

As an adult, I read to my twins often. Then because of a nagging need to do something creative, I began to write. I learned to submit my writing to children's magazine publishers, ever conscious of the postage money I was sure I was throwing away. But the challenge was there! The Yukon (and now the publishing world) needed to be tamed - to heck with the suffering or the cost of a stamp!

I sold my first story to Highlights for Children, then many more to that magazine, to Jack and Jill, Scholastic and others. I sold three picture books: A Hat for Lily, and In A Window on Greenwater Street, to Steck/Vaughn, and The Way The Tiger Walked, to Simon & Schuster. I was a published author! But I didn't feel like an author. At least I had the publishers fooled. Not one of them called to tell me it was all a huge mistake.

I left all these glories, and doubts, in the early '70's. Life called me in different directions for the next thirty years. We now had four daughters and schools that introduced us to that annoying word tuition. I went to work part time at various jobs - preschool, nursing home, medical clinic, hospital. I quieted my creative demon in snitches and snatches of small projects until 1997, when two amazing things happened. My daughter, Stacy DeKeyser, started to write, and I was introduced to this new, alien thing called a computer.

I had EMAIL! Stacy lived in Atlanta and cyber channels smoked with our back and forth messages about writing - she asking questions about my long ago experiences, and me, trying to remember. She introduced me to online writers' groups and after a few short months, I was drawn back into the world of writing.

My first picture book, On a Wintry Morning (illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson) appeared in the bookstores in October 2000. New books are reviewed and the reviews can be good or bad. If the reviewer writes: "Would someone please shoot this writer," that's bad. If the book is given a 'starred review,' that's good. On a Wintry Morning received two starred reviews (lucky me!) and also won the Archer/Eckblad Award for the best picture book to be written by a Wisconsin author in 2000. I was astonished. The book has a simple, rhyming text about a daddy and his baby daughter spending a wintry morning together. How appropriate is that, having watched my husband help raise four daughters?

With the help of my daughter and my writing friends, I think I'm becoming a good writer. In addition to a good number of picture books, I've written a series of five easy-to-read Cork and Fuzz books. It's been an interesting and pleasurable journey.

And why do I write? I can't give just one reason. But I think what comes closest to being the most important reason goes something like this. Close your eyes and imagine you hear a child laugh. Then imagine that you are the one who made him laugh. Can you feel that inner glow?

Please visit my website:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2006
Format: School & Library Binding
Constance R. Bergum's gorgeous drawings lend to the lovely story of Anna and her little sister Katya, who live on a Wisconsin farm and love to dance in the meadow, presenting they're ballerinas. When Katya falls ill with polio her dancing days seem over: her legs are weak and misshapen and Katya must struggle to even walk again - how will she dance with braces on? The sisters put heads together to resolve even a crippling illness in this gentle story of sibling warmth and overcoming adversity which parents and teachers will relish.
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