Ballet Bunnies: The New Class (Book 1), Ballet Bunnies: Let’s Dance (Book 2) by Swapna Reddy, illustrated by Binny Talib, Stepping Stone (an imprint of Random House), 9780593304921 & 978059334952, 2020
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Beginning chapter books
What did you like about the book? In Book 1, Millie can’t wait to start lessons at Miss Luisa’s School of Dance, but feels nervous. Luckily she meets a crew of 4 (imaginary) ballet bunnies who show her the ropes. Oh no! Mean girl Amber makes fun of her amateur status. Never fear, the bunnies and new friends Samira and Will all pitch in to make Millie feel accepted. In Book 2, Miss Luisa’s students get ready to put on a show where they’ll be playing flower fairies, but once again, Amber tries to undermine Millie’s confidence by stealing her watering can! Ballet Bunnies to the rescue. The books feature really eye-catching and appealing full color illustrations, which is so unusual in a beginning chapter book. The children have big heads and very expressive eyes and are surrounded by a healthy abundance of pink and purple. The cute bunnies have distinct personalities and costumes, making them easy to tell apart. I also liked that Millie had a single mom and that at least one boy was shown in the class. Millie and her new friend Samira have brown skin while Will, Amber and Miss Louisa have beige skin. Reddy includes a glossary of ballet terms and a pictorial guide to the five basic ballet positions.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Two stories about Amber being mean is enough. Miss Louisa should wise up to that tot’s bratty ways and then Reddy could move on to a new story arc. The ballet shoes shown in the pictures resemble toe shoes, but of course, ballet students would not be wearing such footwear at this age.
To whom would you recommend this book? New chapter book readers trying to build up their reading muscles. Ballet fans will be delighted.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Either fiction or beginning chapter books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: April 15, 2021