Review Blog

May 30 2017

The fairy dancers by Natalie Jane Prior

cover image

Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733337833
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Ballet dancers. Friendship. Ballet. Saturday mornings are special for young Mia, Emma and Grace, as they dress in their dance clothes, tie the ribbons of their ballet shoes and learn to dance and twirl like fairies. Natalie Jane Prior's delightful picture book The fairy dancers contains three entertaining stories about friendship, caring and having fun. These are easy to read, just right for young dancers beginning to read chapter books.
In 'The magic slippers', Mia's ballet shoes need replacing, instead of hopping and skipping, she's flipping and flopping across the room. The Fairy Mothers take their daughters to Eva's Dance Shop where Mia falls in love with a pair of blue shoes. In Miss Ashleigh ballet classes, pink shoes are required. Mia takes matters into her own hands and colours her new pink shoes in with blue paints. This problem is resolved in a fun, creative manner with the help of her dog Coco. 'Miss Ashleigh's surprise birthday' is a fun, exciting story with the three friends planning a special party in the park for their favourite teacher. In the third story, all the girls are busy practising for the Christmas concert, costumes are made and everyone is very excited. When Grace breaks her arm, Miss Ashleigh creatively includes the young dancer in the performance.
Cheryl Orsini's detailed pastel watercolour and gouache illustrations bring the stories alive. Her fluid lines, hidden details and soft palette show the delightful characters dancing across the pages complementing Prior's gentle descriptive text. This author and illustrator have built a strong collaborative partnership working together on more than eleven books. This is evident in this enjoyable picture book. The fairy dancers is a celebration of dancing and being friends.
Rhyllis Bignell

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