Rabbit en Pointe! A Bunny in the Ballet by Robert Beck
OF THE GREAT MANY THINGS IN THIS WORLD THAT WE RABBITS LOVE DOING, BALLET DANCING TOPS THE LIST.
AT LEAST IT DOES FOR ME, DESIREE RABBIT.
BUT THERE WERE NO BUNNIES IN THE BALLET....
But that does not deter Desiree Bunny, who just knows that her particular pings, jumps, and whooshes are just what the Parisienne ballet needs. Hoping for an audition for the Ecoles de Danse, Desi encounters Mdme. Molotov, the dragon at the door administrative assistant, who definitively declares...
"THERE ARE NO BUNNIES IN THE BALLET."
Still, Desiree manages to slip into the practice room and impresses the dancing mistress with her whirls and whooshes, and she finds a place in the class.
Attired in pink leotard and tights, pink tutu and slippers, Desi shows up and works hard, even when she finds the class dressed all in blue and high skeptical that a bunny belongs in the ballet. And when it is time for Mr. Cloud to assign roles for the holiday performance of The Nutcracker, Desiree earns the part of....Marie's pet bunny. Irked at the type casting, Desiree goes along with the assignment and plays it perfectly. But when the second act is almost ready to begin, Mr. Cloud discovers that his prima ballerina for the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is unable to go on.
"I CAN DO IT!" SAID DESIREE.
Pigs (Olivia) do it, mice (Angelina) do it, very fairy princesses (Geraldine) do it, even little leg-losing zombies (Zombelina) do it, so why not a bunny ballerina? At least, that's the premise of Robert Beck's new A Bunny in the Ballet (Orchard Books, 2014). Beck doesn't skip a cliche as he recycles the plot of the eager young member of the corps de ballet who secretly understudies the star and steps in when the grand jete' must go on. Where Beck's story is most improvisational is in his distinctive highly expressive illustrations, with characters and the Parisienne backdrop stylishly portrayed in a few swooping lines and soft watercolor wash. Overcoming the odds is the premise into which Beck works ballet terms and routine, in a story that will appeal to young ballerinas who plan to beat the odds of becoming prima ballerinas themselves.
For a whole corps de ballet of stories, see some of the competition here!