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Ballet   

Click for Writing for Children Ballet
by Susan Meredith
(Usborne)
Unlike many ballet books, this one is not aimed purely at those who want to dance. Instead, it provides a simple but interesting introduction to ballet in general, with just a few pages at the end about learning to dance. The text is easy to read with straightforward sentence structure and short paragraphs. As the illustrations show mainly adults and teenagers, this is a good choice for older children who lack confidence in reading.
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Click for Writing for Children Starting Ballet
by Helen Edom, Nicola Katrak and Susan Meredith
(Usborne)
This very practical guide to ballet explains the basic movements and gives hints and tips to help children try dancing at home. These are illustrated with drawings of both boys and girls, many of whom are dancing in T-shirts, shorts and bare feet. The effect is to make ballet seem accessible - not something you can only do if you afford expensive lessons and clothing. As the children look between 6 and 10, it's a good choice for would-be dancers in junior school.
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Click for Writing for Children Ballet Treasury
by Susanna Davidson and Katie Daynes
(Usborne)
Although it opens with information on being a ballet dancer and putting on a show, the majority this book is devoted to retellings of six major ballets - Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Firebird, Coppélia and Cinderella. These stories are divided into acts to match the ballets so are a useful way to help children and adults understand what is happening on stage during a performance. It's a pity that the girls on the very pink cover look so young - older readers may need encouragement to discover the retellings inside.
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My First Ballet Book
by Kate Castle
(Kingfisher)
Despite the title, this book is aimed at 6-10s rather than the very young. The book starts with basic advice on clothing and choosing a class, before moving on to show the type of exercises and movements classes for this age group involve. The final sections show the more aspirational movements (high leaps and dancing 'en pointe') and the background to performances. The excellent photographs attract children's attention and the clear text provides tips and explanations. There are plenty of boys in the photos so boys who dance may enjoy it too, provided they can get past the rather girly cover.
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Click for Writing for Children Step-by-Step Ballet Class
by The Royal Academy of Dance
(Ebury Press)
Subtitled 'an illustrated guide to the official ballet syllabus', this is a serious accompaniment to ballet lessons rather than a photographic taster. Step-by-step line drawings and short descriptions illustrate the main movements that feature in the exams for the different levels, providing a useful reference to help practise at home between lessons. This is a good choice for really keen young dancers and a useful guide to non-dancing mums who want to understand what their children are learning and how best to encourage them. .
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Click for Writing for Children Stories from the Ballet
by Margaret Greaves, illustrated by Lisa Kopper
(Frances Lincoln)
The classic ballet stories in this book are well told for young readers, while keeping true to the tales as portrayed on stage. As well as being of general interest to budding ballerinas, each tale provides an excellent introduction to the plot before a visit to that particular ballet. The stories included are The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, The Firebird, Ondine, Swan Lake, Petrushka, The Nutcracker and Coppelia.
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