Shy Cassie has the skills to make her dream of becoming a dancer come true. Unfortunately, she gets nervous if anyone watches her dance. What with ballet and tap and jazz classes, she gets plenty of time to practice, but her reserved nature prevents her from making friends in any of her classes. She longs to be confident, like Jake in her jazz class, but for now her dreams of dancing in public remain just that--dreams. When she dances with her idol's shoes (claimed from the secondhand shelf at the studio) and realizes that Jake has fears of his own, she finds she can rise above her anxiety and take her rightful place on the front line. Smith's pleasing black-and-white pencil sketches are just the right touch for this realistic slice-of-life story. Likable characters--including a boy dancer whose father is also a dancer--a familiar setting and friendly illustrations on each page add up to a winner for the reader ready for a step beyond early readers. --Kirkus Reviews
More than anything, Cassie wants to be a dancer and perform in a troupe. She takes classes in ballet, tap, and jazz but for some reason does not seem to make friends with her classmates. Cassie is shy and nervous about performing in public; even in class, she stays in the back, hoping not to be noticed. She watches her classmate Jake, who seems full of confidence and acts like a bit of a show-off. He always goes right to the front of the class. When the class prepares for the dance they will perform in front of an audience on Parents' Day, Cassie thinks about feigning illness so she can stay home, but knows she can never fool her mom with that ploy. So, Cassie then points out that her dance shoes are too tight. This is true, but the dance instructor keeps a supply of secondhand shoes available and Cassie winds up with a pair of shoes once used by a famous dancer. With the 'star' shoes and the encouragement of Jake (who has problems of his own), Cassie finds that performing is fun. This book is sure to resonate with kids, most of whom share Cassie's fears and nervousness about performing in public. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford --Children's Literature
About the Author
AUTHOR: Krista Bell is an award-winning author who once upon a time took dance lessons for fun. Her books include Sniffy the Sniffer Dog, No Strings, and the 2004 Australian Family Therapists' Award winner, Who Cares? (all Lothian). She lives in Australia. ILLUSTRATOR: Craig Smith has illustrated many books for children, including A Day in the Life of Me and Sniffy the Sniffer Dog (both Lothian). He lives in Australia.