Prime Edition

A doggie twirl here, a daddy pirouette there

8th Nov 2014

I Love Ballet

Pia Raina

Tota Books

Pages: 30 Rs. 250

The 2000 film Billy Elliot starred Jamie Bell as the titular character, an 11-year-old miner's son in '80s England who wants to become a ballet dancer. In one of the film's most memorable moment, Billy is asked by the Royal Ballet School's review board to describe how he feels when he dances. Billy replies: "Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I've got this fire in my body. I'm just there. Flyin' like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity." Pia Raina's I Love Ballet, a book aimed at children around 4 years of age, tries to counter the same stereotypes that young Billy battled. During the course of a magical day, the book's protagonist, an unnamed young girl, sees everybody around her putting on their dancing shoes. "I went and knocked on my big brother's door/ But it was open, so I peeked in and saw/ He was doing a split flat on the floor! / I was in giggles, I had to go tell Dad/ But there he was in a tutu and hat!"

Sumedha Sah's illustrations are always easy on the eye; this is the second book that she has done for Tota Books (an imprint of Full Circle Publishing), following Priya Sawhney's The Making of Dog. The book also has a dog, and yes, he's also attempting a ballet stance on two legs; as are a squirrel, a rabbit, a bambino and a female hippopotamus. As Raina says, "Now I know/ All creatures love ballet! / It makes everyone happy, I'm sure we all agree / To dance and twirl and be fancy free!" I Love Ballet is a fun, zippy read for kids that will, hopefully, right a few cultural wrongs along the way.

 
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