'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 10 November 2013

Review: The Dance Teacher

Isabelle loves to dance. She practises her ballet positions over and over. When her friends move on from junior ballet classes to jazz and hip-hop, Isabelle chooses to continue her ballet lessons with Miss Sylvie, hoping one day to be a prima ballerina.

Will Isabelle’s dream come true?
The Dance Teacher is a celebration of dance and the way teachers can inspire their students to reach for their dreams. It is sure to tug at the heartstrings of anyone who ever wanted to be a ballerina and delight young girls currently practising pliƩs and arabesques and dreaming of their first pair of pointe shoes.

Author Simon Milne’s story is a lovely tribute to dance, and that pleasure that can be found in studying dance in both the short and long term. There are reminders that dancing requires practice and discipline, but even with the mention of the hard work required, the story captures the appeal and excitement of dance lessons. There is a sense of ballet classes being the highlight of the young girls’ week, as it is for so many little girls, and the sense of achievement that comes from long term commitment for those girls who continue with lessons beyond the early years.

Chantal Stewart’s enchanting illustrations capture the movement and grace of the world of ballet. They also convey the way a love of dance builds a connection between Isabelle and her teacher that lasts long after Isabelle’s lessons in Miss Sylvie’s dance studio are over.

I confess that I never aspired to be a ballerina when I grew up, but as someone who respects and admires teachers who inspire children to reach for their dreams, The Dance Teacher brought a tear to my eye. Every child deserves to have at least one person in their life that encourages them to dream big and this book celebrates that mentoring role as much as it does the joy that can be found in dance.

Title: The Dance Teacher
Author: Simon Milne
Illustrator: Chantal Stewart
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 21 August 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743313312
For ages: 5-8
Type: Picture Book