Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Dance Teacher

The Dance Teacher written by Simon Milne, illustrated by Chantal Stewart (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-331-2
Reviewed by Ann Harth

The Dance Teacher is a quiet but powerful book that entertains and inspires while instilling a gentle message about following one’s passion.

Miss Sylvie owns a dance studio. She teaches dance to children of all ages. One day a little girl pops her head in the door. ‘I want to be a ballerina,’ Isabelle says. Isabelle practices every day, never missing a ballet class. Her friends come and go but Isabelle never wavers. She grows strong and skilful under the patient teaching of Miss Sylvie. Isabelle is accepted into a dance school in the city and eventually fulfils her dream of becoming a prima ballerina and dances all over the world. The years go by and Isabelle grows tired. She is ready to go home. Miss Sylvie is sitting in her dance studio when Isabelle pops her head in the door. “I am ready to become a teacher,” Isabelle says.

The Dance Teacher is a story of a little girl’s dream and the dedication and commitment it takes to achieve it. It also highlights the powerful influence a teacher can have on a child’s life. Children from the age of four will enjoy this book but it’s a treasure for any age. Its warm and tender illustrations make the characters come alive and work beautifully to tell an important part of the story.

The Dance Teacher is Simon Milne’s first picture book. Although he now works in the book industry, his background is in directing music videos for well-known artists such as Elton John and Duran Duran. For more information on Simon Milne, please visit

Chantal Stewart was born in Paris. She worked as a graphic designer and illustrator in the advertising and publishing industries until she moved to Australia where she followed her own dream and became a children’s book illustrator. She has collaborated with author Joan van Loon on a number of books, and their work has been shortlisted for the YABBA awards for three consecutive years. More of Chantal’s work can be seen in her portfolio at  

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, was released in 2012. 

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