A Tutu In Good Time: Tallulah's Tutu by Marilyn Singer
TALLULAH STAMPED HER FOOT.
"THAT'S NOT FAIR! A BALLERINA NEEDS A TUTU AND SHE NEEDS IT NOW!
Tallulah had yearned for her tutu since she first peeked through the front window of the ballet studio and saw the ballet students pirouetting in their stylishly poofy skirts. At her first lesson she knows just what she expects in her first tutu. "I want lavender!" she announces to the student next to her at the barre. Tallulah pays attention, she practices her plies, and reaches high in her releve. "I am a fabulous ballerina. I'm going to get my tutu right after class." she convinces herself.
But three lessons go by, and no tutu materializes. Tallulah tries to tell herself that the tutu truck must be tied up in traffic and continues to practice her positions dutifully. But at last she can contain her impatience with her teacher no longer, and in a bit of a temper demands her tutu!
TEACHER PUT HER ARM AROUND HER. "YOU HAVE TO WAIT, TALLULAH. IT TAKES TIME AND A LOT OF PRACTICE TO EARN YOUR TUTU."
But putting off her tutu is not part of Tallulah's plan. She quits!
Still, Tallulah can't quite get ballet out of her mind. She continues to plie whenever she pets the dog and uses any handy chair for a few barre exercises. Even the slew-foot stance of the next-door Basset hound reminds her of second position. And then one day at the supermarket, Tallulah hears a bit of familiar music, and her feet begin to move in an impromptu danse for the customers.
At last Tallulah realizes that she really wants, more than a tutu, is to dance. It's time to return to ballet..
"I AM A VERY, VERY GOOD DANCER," SHE THOUGHT.
"AND I WILL GET MY TUTU... SOMEDAY."
In Marilyn Singer's forthcoming Tallulah's Tutu (Clarion, 2011), practice makes perfect and pays off with a trophy tutu at the end-of-year recital. Singer's Tallulah is not the first little girl to put style over substance in her choice of ballet, but Singer's subtle message of the value of form and finesse over fashion comes through with a fine final flourish here. Alexandra Boiger's illustrations of preschool apprentice ballerinas are choice, capturing just the right body language in her lovely little dancers with charm and youthful grace. Fans of Holabird's Angelina Ballerina) and Numeroff's The Jellybeans and the Big Dance will take to Tallulah, tutu or no tutu.