Finished: Nov. 16, 2011
First Published: Oct. 21, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picture books, ballet, fairy tales
Everyone, rich and poor, was invited to the palace garden to celebrate Prince Siegfried's birthday.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.
Reason for Reading: First I must say I am not a fan of the ballet, the dance or the music. However, I do appreciate the stories they tell and I enjoy reading retellings of the stories either in picture book format or more involved novelized retellings. The stories are much like fairy tales, incorporating many elements of fantasy.
This is a beautiful book. One worth owning and adding to a collection of fairy tales or similar retellings. Aesthetically the book is gorgeously illustrated with full page paintings and each story also has one two-page spread illustration. While the dustjacket has a nice picture it is included inside the book and I am more inclined to find the picture boards more attractive. They are delicately designed with a white on white pattern, gold lettering and a smaller version of another picture found inside the book. The endpages again are beautiful, also using a white on white as well as white on silver pattern design. This is just the type of book you want to hold and browse through and appreciate.
Content-wise, the book starts with a brief essay by the author (a former ballerina) on why she choose to retell these "ballet blanc" stories and what that means. Then we have the three stories wonderfully retold in language any age can enjoy. After each story is an "About" spread where the author tells a brief history of the ballet then goes on to interpret each of the paintings she has included for each story. Her paintings do not necessarily illustrate the events of the story but more so illustrate the ballet scene and feeling one would see on stage at such a particular point in each piece. These sections would not hold the interest of a young child but are a treasure trove for the older reader.
The combination of stories, background and interpretive information along with the gorgeous artwork make this book truly suitable for any age. Highly recommended for anyone who would appreciate the material.