Swan: the life and dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Published by Chronicle Books 

Summary:  When Anna Pavlova was a small girl growing up in Petrograd, her mother took her to see a ballet.  From then on, she could think of nothing but dancing.  After two years of dreaming, she was finally admitted to the Russian Imperial Ballet School.  While she had natural grace and beauty, her body was very different from the sturdy, acrobatic dancers of the time.  Nevertheless, she worked hard and became a famous ballerina, best known for her role as the lead in The Dying Swan.  Always remembering her own impoverished childhood, Anna traveled the world, bringing dance to people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to experience it.  Sadly, at the age of 50, she was in a train accident, caught pneumonia from being outside in the cold, and died.  Grades 1-5.

Pros:  Dance fans will love this beautifully illustrated book with spare, poetic text telling the inspiring story of Anna Pavlova’s life.

Cons:  The text is spare enough that readers might be a bit confused by some aspects of the story.  Be sure to read the author’s note at the end for some clarity.

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