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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring (Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (Awards)) Hardcover – August 3, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-6–If Martha Graham's choreography for “Appalachian Spring” was a “valentine” to the world, as critics wrote in 1944, then this book is a love letter in return. Simple, poetic prose tells the story of the creation of one of the world's most-loved ballets and compositions, and Floca's graceful watercolor illustrations take admirers through every part of its development. Written in the present tense, the narrative has a sense of drama that carries readers along as if the events were happening in real time. Fascinating details about the collaboration among Graham, Copland, and Isamu Noguchi (set design) are well documented in the lengthy “curtain call,” notes, and resources pages, which read like a fantastic set of liner notes. Floca varies the illustrations from vignettes to bird's-eye views to landscapes and expertly capture the fluid movements of the dancers. The page layouts are well planned to create the most movement and interest. The authors researched extensively but found a way to crystallize all of the information into a gem that is approachable for young readers. More than anything, this work emphasizes the value of collaboration and celebrates the work that Graham, Copland, and Noguchi did to bring together the performing and visual arts. Readers may be inspired to go to Russell Freedman's Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life (Clarion, 1998) and should be encouraged to check out one of Leonard Bernstein's definitive recordings of “Appalachian Spring” and a video of the ballet.Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Dance. Music. Set. All of these elements contribute to the experience of Appalachian Spring, an American classic that continues to thrill audiences. But authors Greenberg and Jordan are less concerned with presenting the ballet (although readers do get a strong sense of it) and more interested in how such an extraordinary collaboration came to be. How does an idea go from a jotted note on choreographer Martha Graham’s pad to a fierce triumph? In crisp yet patient sentences, the authors begin with a vision: a story to be told in movement and music, an American pioneer tale. Composer Aaron Copland takes his cues from his knowledge of Graham’s powerful yet simple dance style. A Shaker hymn leads him to the music, which in turn ignites Graham’s choreography. But one more element is needed. Enter artist Isamu Noguchi, whose set design is as spare and strong as the ballet. The collaboration continues as the dance becomes fully formed, opening triumphantly in 1944. In this book, too, disparate elements come together. Matching the mood of Graham’s moves, the writing is pared down but full of possibilities. Floca’s ink-and-watercolor artwork nimbly shifts from the prosaic (Copland reading Graham’s script) to the visionary (a bride and groom on the open prairie) to the several-spread finale of the ballet itself. The book as a whole beautifully captures the process of artistic creation. The extensive back matter that concludes is welcome, but what readers will surely want after putting this down is to see and hear Appalachian Spring for themselves. Grades 2-4. --Ilene Cooper
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: AD710L (What's this?)
  • Series: Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Flash Point; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596433388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596433380
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Collaboration. True life stories of collaboration told in a picture book format. It's a challenge that I give myself: Name such stories off the top of your head. If you're a children's librarian then surely you can think of one or two, yes? So I start to think about it. Let's see . . . well, there was Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride, but that was more a story about two strangers meeting nicely than a tale of collaboration (the same could be said for When Harriet Met Sojourner). It shouldn't be that hard to think of such stories though, right? I mean, we're constantly telling our kids that cooperation is an essential skill. We teach them to share. We (hopefully) give them the chance to learn about the essential give and take that exists when two or more people try to create something new together. Yet my mind is a perfect blank until I look over and see my copy of Ballet for Martha perched on the arm of my chair. The tale of how a dancer, a composer, and an artist/set designer is a true story that shows how professional adults can work together, regardless of differences in background, ethnicity, or experience.

"Sometimes art is made by one artist, working alone, but sometimes it is the result of artists working together - collaborating - to forge something new." New was not an unfamiliar word to dancer Martha Graham. She spent a great deal of her life exploring new types of dance in the mid-20th century. And when she wanted to make a dance about American living, she turned to composer Aaron Copland.
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Format: Hardcover
For a full synoposis see above.

As I read this book and neared the end I could have sworn I heard music in my head.
When I finished all was quiet. There is so much information, so much beauty, so much dance, so much story. The illustrations are gorgeous and I feel like I have learned about American music, ballet and art, Martha Graham, Aaron Copland and Isamu Noguchi while thoroughly enjoying this book. The story and illustrations flowed smoothly and as the music in my head slowly faded I was happy there was a "curtain call" and to continue reading. Highly recommended for fans of dance, music, art and Americana.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Delightful storytelling for young readers; America dances when "Pacific Overtures" meets "Appalachian Spring". All America celebrates when Martha and Aaron and Isamu do the "Shaker."

The noted and revered American artist, Isamu Noguchi, born in Los Angeles, was taken to Japan by his mother to meet his estranged father when he was three, and then sent back to America when thirteen to "reclaim his heritage". "Thirteen-year-old Isamu, his suitcase packed with his carpenter tools, traveled alone by steamship to California, then by train to Indiana to a boarding school his mother had read about in a magazine. Like Martha, his first view of the huge American landscape was through a train window. He arrived at the school, only to find that it had been closed to become an army base to train troops for World War I (1914-1918). Isamu stayed with a [local] family in a nearby town [LaPorte IN] until he graduated [from the local Public High School in 1922]." In his own words he had become "a real Hoosier."

That historic aside doesn't interfere with the delightfully pictured storytelling that takes a youngster soaring in his mind's eye through Americana. --Glenn Ralston
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By Amanda on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ballet for Martha is a wonderful book about the making of Appalachian Springs the ballet. The authors seems less concerned about the actual ballet and instead decided to tell the behind the scenes story of how it was made. Not many people know exactly what it takes to make a ballet; they only see the finished product. There is a lot of hard work and dedication needed to make it a success. The Authors did such a great job at describing this. They stressed the importance of collaboration, and being able to work with other people, which is a great lesson for students to learn as early as possible. It also explained how Martha's dance style wasn't always liked, but that didn't stop her from doing what she loved. The illustrations in this book are phenomenal. They capture the essence of the story so well, and help the story come to life in such an interesting way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This nonfiction children's books celebrates the collaboration of Aaron Copland's majestic, yet playful, "Appalachian Spring", Martha Graham's innovative dance, and Isamu Noguchi's minimalist artistry. The illustrations convey movement and music. The book does a marvelous job of introducing children to ballet, Appalachia, innovators, and collaborators. The only improvement I could see would have been to include a CD of Copland's score. When using this book in a library program I play Copland's piece. I gave this book as a high school graduation gift to a young woman who is a ballet dancer and who has a passion for children's literature. A perfect fit.
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