This book serves more than one purpose. It is a short, but entertaining read for a child or for a parent to read to their children. The story is about Marie, a young girl in France who is loved by her poor, but hard-working parents. They work long hours to save money to send her to ballet school - as it is her dream to become the world's most famous ballerina. When her father becomes ill and can no longer afford to pay for her classes, the famous artist Edgar Degas offers to pay her for modeling for him. He is mean, short-tempered and impatient with Marie, making her hold poses for hours until her neck aches. One night, however, she finds out just a little of what is under the surface of Degas' rough exterior and feels sorry for him, giving him her long hair ribbon. Even her modeling pay cannot sustain the cost of her classes, so she must give up her dream. Later, she and her parents receive an invitation to a gallery showing of Degas' work - the center piece is the only sculpture of his ever displayed during his lifetime - it is of Marie - and unlike other statues, hers is wearing a tutu and the beautiful hair ribbon she gave him. The story is not only entertaining, but it tells children that while some people may act mean or rude, it may be because they are hurting on the inside - and extending friendship to someone who behaves in such a manner can truly make a difference in their life and in yours. The story is peppered with illustrations of Marie and her family, as well as photos of Degas' paintings and of course, his famous sculpture. Information about the names of the paintings and the museums where they are displayed is also cited at the end of the book. This doesn't have to be just a book for girls - even young boys will see a universal truth - we can always have dreams and even though they may not come true the way we envisioned them, we never know what wonderful surprises are around the corner.
This is the second book in this art series by Laurence Anholt, that I've purchased for my 5-year old grand daughter. I love the mixture of classic paintings of the featured Artist along with the illustrations of the book. I also enjoy how the author weaves the story of a fictional young child interacting within the artist's world. I'll be buying more of Mr Anholt 's books - a great way to introduce art appreciation to young children.
My daughter loves art and museums. We bought her this book after reading about Degas in the Olivia book. It was a perfect prelude to going to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. The MET has a version of the sculpture discussed in the book and several Degas ballerina paintings as well. We brought the book to the museum with us.
One note, there are some sad themes in the story, which made our 3.5 yr old daughter a little sad, but in the end, they are good life lessons.
My great-granddaughter lives in another state. She is 3-1/2 years old, and was in her first dance performance. I sent her this book, and her mother said that she loves it. She said that she is a little young to understand the story, but loves the Degas pictures and is familiar with his paintings. Since I never say the inside of the book, I gave it only 4 stars. Thanks, Pat Erwin
I am a homeschooling mother and is therefore always on the look out for educational books. I love this book even though the focus is not so much on Degas' other works, it tells the story of the little dancer beautifully. The book also paints a clear image of who Degas was and why he, in the end, became a sculptor. Books like these open the eyes of children to the world of arts and they end up having such a great appreciation for art works.