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Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse Hardcover – October 1, 1993

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former ballerina Kirkland and husband Lawrence stumble in their first book for children. Eleven-year-old Rosie officiates in a gosh-golly-gee narration: "I'd better tell you the reader about my diary. . . . I never show it to anybody except Sugar, my horse. But Sugar's my best friend in the whole world. I'd better explain about him too." Rosie lives on a farm (although somehow she never seems to do any chores except those involving Sugar), writes poems to Sugar and wants to become a ballerina. Luckily, her tiny rural town does have a ballet studio large enough to stage the Nutcracker as well as a dancers' shop run by a former ballerina. But all is not roses: the ballet teacher decrees that her promising pupil give up horseback riding lest her leg muscles develop improperly. After much fretting and versifying ("but believe me, Sugar, / I am not an old rat!"), sage elders suggest the girl ride sidesaddle. With this cotton-candy offering, Kirkland and Lawrence badly underestimate their readers' intelligence. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-4-Written by one of the world's most famous ballerinas and her husband, this novel explores 11-year-old Rosie's emotional turmoil. She loves ballet, horseback riding, and her horse, Sugar. Because riding develops the wrong muscles for ballet, Rosie's parents tell her that she must choose between them. Eventually, her uncle comes up with a perfect solution to his niece's problem. The book is smoothly written and, although it focuses on the girl's inner thoughts and questions as she struggles to make her decision, it does include a great deal of information about the world of ballet as well as some action-packed scenes. Most of the characters are marginally developed, but readers do get a sense of the preteen's dilemma. However, the device of using poems to express her feelings is jarring and unnecessary. Stick with books about horses by Marguerite Henry or ballet stories such as Susan Farrar's Samantha on Stage (Puffin, 1990) or Sandy Asher's Just Like Jenny (Delacorte, 1982).
April L. Judge, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385469780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385469784
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,906,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The Little Ballerina and her Dancing Horse begins when the main character, Rosie Daniels, introduces herself. Rosie is an eleven year old girl who has to make the crucial decision between riding her horse, Sugar, who she loves more than anyone in the world, and becoming a professional dancer. I loved this book because the characters were so realistic(especially the dog). It was written by Gelsey Kirkland, who really was a ballerina, so the author knows her topic well.
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Format: Hardcover
The lack of knowledge of basic horsemanship makes this book a disappointing read for "horse lovers" of any age. Even children who do not own a horse but are well read on the subject will discover many flaws.
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