Monday, December 14, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Swan: The life and dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad

This isn't the best cover picture - some of the delicate color the illustration is lost - but it gives you an idea of how beautiful this book is.

Anna is dressed in a delicately pink dress and her wings shine with a soft silver sparkle. Her story begins with a little girl looking out of a window into the snowy night. Snyder's poetic prose takes the reader through Anna's poverty-stricken childhood, her love of dance, her rejection and eventual acceptance and success and her transformation into one of the most famous and beloved dancers of all time. Finally, she dances her final dance and leaves the stage forever.

There could not be a better illustrator for this stunning picture book than Julie Morstad, whose exquisite and delicate lines convey the beauty and grace of Anna's dance. Softly tinted colors fill the page and Anna whirls through the pictures, seeming both remote and close enough to touch as she changes from costume to costume.

An author's note explains more details about Anna Pavlova's life and influence on ballet, especially making it available to not only the wealthy and nobility but something that many people could enjoy and even participate in. A final page includes a brief bibliography and source notes.

Verdict: A stunning, lovely book that ballet fans and lovers of beauty of all ages will love. An absolute must for your picture book collection, especially if you have a dance section.

ISBN: 9781452118901; Published 2015 by Chronicle; Purchased for the library

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