A charming entry in the ongoing saga of Tallulah.


From the Tallulah series , Vol. 3

Toe shoes are de rigueur for ballerinas, and Tallulah wants them—now!

Tallulah is one determined ballet student. She wanted a tutu and got it. She wanted a starring role in a student performance and almost got it, appearing instead in the corps de ballet. Now it’s toe shoes. Her teacher explains that she can wear them when her feet stop growing. This is not a sufficient deterrent, however. Tallulah sneakily retrieves a pair discarded by an older student and takes them home. Sore feet, sore toes, inability to balance and her little brother’s exasperation after trying to help finally make her realize her teacher’s wisdom. Singer once again wisely presents a quandary faced by many little ballerinas and any other child who is told to postpone immediate gratification. Boiger’s delicate watercolors featuring bright reds and blues winningly capture Tallulah’s loving family, her dramatic if unsuccessful struggle to stand on point and her surety of future success. A double-page-spread depiction of a ballet step, échappé en pointe or demi-pointe, performed respectively by an older girl and by Tallulah, makes an excellent reference point. Little girls in tutus and little girls who dream big will find that Tallulah is a kindred spirit. A glittery cover adds to the appeal.

A charming entry in the ongoing saga of Tallulah. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-48223-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A lovely, empowering book about having the courage to express one’s individuality.


A young White boy shares his secret talent with his classmates for the first time.

An unnamed, unidentified narrator, clearly one of the titular protagonist’s schoolmates, explains that every week at Friday Assembly, one student gets to perform for the whole school, an activity called “Sharing Gifts.” Once, Tina played her tuba; another time, Jessie did some magic; Carol delivered a stand-up routine. Now it’s John’s turn, and boy does he look nervous. In short, declarative sentences the text describes John’s preparations for his act. Once on stage, he hesitates as some kids laugh at the musical track accompanying his performance—“strings, violins and things, and then maybe flutes”—then it’s showtime. A succession of wordless, double-page spreads uses continuous narration to showcase the various poses and steps of John’s glorious ballet recital. His facial expression and body language morph as fear gives way to a joyful sense of accomplishment. Young readers will love John’s classmates’ reactions at the ending. Berube’s simple ink-and-paint illustrations have minimal background details, allowing readers to focus squarely on John and his emotions. It is truly wonderful to see a boy character in a children’s book so enthusiastic about, and accomplished at, ballet. Any child, though, who has a talent to share or struggles with performance anxiety will find a role model in John. The children are nicely diverse racially. Their teachers present White.

A lovely, empowering book about having the courage to express one’s individuality. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation.


Four woodland animal friends put on a show.

Rabbit, Squirrel, and aptly named Other Squirrel (who has slightly redder fur than Squirrel) are a flurry of activity. They are going to put on a show. “A BIG show.…The BEST show!” It will have hats (tall ones), tickets (shiny ones), and a curtain (red—no, green). There are many decisions to be made. Bear, however, does not want to be part of it. He is too shy. He would prefer to be the note taker. Rabbit, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel fire off ideas, amending one another’s at furious speed, and Bear writes them all down. Scribbles appear in the white space surrounding the boulderlike ursine’s head. The ideas pile up; debut illustrator Todd deftly covers an entire page while Bear hunches in the middle, furiously writing. He hums a tune to keep himself calm. On the night of the performance, everything seems ready. Everything except…the show! They were so bogged down with the details, no one figured out what the show would be. The title gives away the ending from the very start, but Bear’s pluck is nevertheless laudable. Petty’s comedic quips are echoed in the frenzied art, with Bear looming large yet timid to ground it all. Limited, skilled use of panels helps to control the pacing.

A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3747-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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