I’m not usually moved to blog about a specific book, but I came across the most charming picture book today at work that I had to rave about it. It’s a travesty that it has gotten only 11 reviews on Amazon and 58 ratings on Goodreads. Mind you, I’m not the hugest picture book fan. I appreciate their art, but since the story is often lacking, I get bored with them. But Tallulah’s Tutu - with its pirouettes and plies - danced its way into my heart immediately.
Ballet has always had a place in my heart. My older brother took lessons at the San Francisco Ballet Academy, and I at the YMCA and freshman year here at Oregon. He was good; I was not. But even if you’re not a dancer or think ballet is for stuffy rich people, Tallulah’s Tutu will still reel you in with its marvelously detailed, elegant, and whimsical illustrations that set the stage for Tallulah’s dreams. Author Marilyn Singer and illustrator Alexandra Boiger deserve their own tutus for this story!
Summary: Tallulah yearns for a tutu, but when she doesn’t receive one after a few ballet lessons, she gives up and vows to never return again. But can she resist her inner urge to dance?
Gender: Don’t let the cover or subject matter fool you. The book isn’t reserved for the girliest of girls. Singer celebrates male participation in dance by including a young boy in Tallulah’s class and her younger brother practicing alongside her at home.
Moral of the story: Be patient, and work hard. Everybody needs that lesson, but children - especially those taking classes or on sports teams - need to hear it. It’s much too easy for a child to fall into a case of the gimme gimme’s*. This book acknowledges the frustration of not seeing immediate results, but guides the reader into realizing that doing what you love is worth the time and effort. Instead of turning preachy, it follows a natural story cycle and delivers a wonderful performance bursting with heart.
(See the spreads in full at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.)
* One of my favorite books growing up. RIP, Jan Berenstain.