Katarina Ballerina by Tiler Peck and Kyle Harris, illustrated by Sumiti Collina

Published by Aladdin (released May 5)

Thanks to Aladdin for providing me with a free review copy of this book.

Katarina Ballerina (1): Peck, Tiler, Harris, Kyle, Collina, Sumiti ...

Summary:  Katarina dreams of being a dancer like her late mother was, but her father is struggling to make ends meet.  She teachers herself enough ballet though YouTube to put together a routine for the school talent show. Her performance is less than stellar, but her dad sees her passion for dancing and offers to pay for some lessons.  Katarina is thrilled until she goes to the first lesson and feels completely in over her head. Fortunately, a girl in the class named Sunny offers to help and the two become good friends. They agree to perform together in a competition for a ballet camp scholarship, but a series of obstacles puts their dream of winning in jeopardy.  Katarina and Sunny make a good team, though, and help from supportive adults brings about a happy ending for all. 192 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  Budding dancers will enjoy reading about Katarina’s experiences and everyone will root for her as she tackles one problem after another with resourcefulness and determination.  Illustrations throughout the book will make this appealing to younger readers.  

Cons:  Many of the situations seemed unrealistic, like Katarina and Sunny being allowed to dance by themselves in front of Lincoln Center to raise money for Katarina’s lessons, then having an usher invite them to a free performance and get them backstage passes to meet one of the dancers (Tiler Peck, one of the authors).

If you would like to order this book from the Odyssey Bookshop, click here.

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