Review Blog

Sep 26 2017

The fairy dancers: Dancing days by Natalie Jane Prior

cover image

Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733335648
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Ballet dancers. Friendship. Ballet. Natalie Jane Prior's delightful picture book The fairy dancers: Dancing days contains three enjoyable stories about friendship, sleepovers, dance concerts and Christmas celebrations. These are easy to read and fun to share, just right for young dancers beginning to read chapter books.
In 'The fairy sleepover', after a rainy summer holidays, Emma's garden has become a lake. Her friends Mia and Grace spend time outdoors, discovering 'spider webs starred with raindrops, a shiny chrysalis and a wing from a fairy's chariot'. The girls have missed their dance lessons and their dance teacher who has been on holidays too. After they dance around a fairy ring of bright toadstools, Miss Ashleigh surprises them and invites them for a fun sleepover. 'Robots and fairies' introduces the boys' dance troupe, dressed as robots they wait to perform. Unfortunately, the fairy dancers and the robots get into an altercation backstage and costumes end up ripped and torn. Miss Ashleigh steps in to restore the situation and help sort everything out.
Miss Ashleigh takes Emma, Mia and Grace into town to see the lights in 'The Fairy Christmas'. When Grace leaves her doll Emily in the taxi, their caring teacher tries to cheer her up. Dancing around the Christmas tree and looking at the Nativity scene helps Grace feel better. After a visit with Santa, then a dance with the jolly old fellow, followed by a surprise for Grace, makes this a great evening out in the end.
Cheryl Orsini's detailed pastel watercolour and gouache illustrations add excitement and sparkle to the story. Her fluid lines, hidden details and soft pastel colours show the delightful characters dancing across the pages complimenting Prior's gentle descriptive text. This author and illustrator have built a strong collaborative partnership working together on more than twelve books. This is apparent in the second enjoyable picture book The fairy dancers: Dancing days that is a celebration of dancing, fun and friendship.
Rhyllis Bignell

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