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Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova Hardcover – August 18, 2015
From School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—This tall, graceful picture book captures the artistic spirit, if not the entire biography, of one of the world's prima ballerinas. Pavlova's humble beginnings and early life in 19th-century tsarist Russia are merely hinted at, though spelled out more fully in an appended author's note. The spare, lyrical text instead offers imagery that is more poetic than concrete. For example, when the curtain rises on Pavlova: "She steps onto the stage alone…/and sprouts white wings, a swan./She weaves the notes, the very air/into a story…/Anna is a bird in flight,/a whim of wind and water./Quiet feathers in a big loud world./Anna is the swan." Morstad's artwork—done in ink, gouache, graphite, pencil, and crayon—is stylized and understated, with backdrops that suggest stage sets more than landscapes or domestic scenes. On nearly every page, the lithe and lovely figure of Pavlova appears, usually in motion, always the embodiment of beauty and grace. Even her illness and death are presented in a dramatic, theatrical manner—fitting somehow for someone who lived and breathed the stage. VERDICT An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal
"In her day, Pavlova traveled the world to bring ballet to new audiences, and today this inspiring entry point brings her to new, even aspiring fans." -San Francisco Chronicle