Saturday 27 October 2012

Ella and Olivia: Ballet Stars

Ballet Stars (Ella and Olivia) Ballet Stars (Ella and Olivia) by Yvette Poshoglian, illustrated by Danielle McDonald (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $7.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-498-6
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Ella is learning ballet at Mrs Fry’s School of Dance. It is announced that Cinderella will be the ballet performed at the end of the year concert. Ella and all her friends dream of dancing the lead role, being the star ballerina on the stage. Ella’s younger sister, Olivia, watches Ella’s dance lessons and wishes she too could be a star. But she is too young for ballet lessons.

Ballet Stars is the third book in this delightful new series about two sisters and their daily exploits. The font is large for beginner readers and the sweet black & white pictures break up the text making these chapter books inviting for even the youngest readers. The interesting and amusing text allows for older children to enjoy the story as well. The ballet lessons take place in a Scout Hall which smells ‘a bit like old socks’ and Mrs Fry sometimes has to light a ‘sweet smelling candle to freshen the air.’
It is this sort of detail which makes every book in the series stand out as individual stories. They are simple narratives which girls from 5 to 9 will relate to and love.

The issues explored are relevant to this age range and things are explained without being condescending or lecturing. All the relationships, between sisters, friends and family, are lovely but still realistic. There are four books published so far and I hope there are many more to come. I really enjoy reading Ella and Olivia.

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