Taking the Next Step: Tallulah's Tap Shoes by Marilyn Singer
TALLULAH WAS EXCITED ABOUT GOING TO DANCE CAMP. SHE WOULD GET TO TAKE BALLET EVERY DAY.
"I CAN'T WAIT TO TAKE TAP!" SAID HER LITTLE BROTHER BECKETT. "I WANT TO DANCE CLICKETY-CLACK-CLICKETY-CLACK!"
TALLULAH SNIFFED. "I'M A BALLET GIRL. I DON'T CLICKETY-CLACK."
As she expects, Tallulah is a stand-out student in her camp ballet class. Her teacher commends her rond de jambe. She can't stop dancing even in the changing room.
"WASN'T THAT GREAT?" SHE SAYS TO A BLACK-HAIRED GIRL.
"I DON'T THINK SO," THE GIRL REPLIED. "I DON'T KNOW WHY WE HAVE TO TAKE BALLET. IT'S SO... STIFF! TAP DANCING IS MUCH COOLER."
"COOL? THAT'S NOT DANCING--IT'S JUST MAKING NOISE!"
"IT'S MAKING MUSIC WITH YOUR FEET!" KACIE TOLD HER.
But in that mandatory tap class, neophyte Tallulah can't even produce a decent FLAP! The teacher constantly corrects her. And to rub it in, that black-haired girl, Kacie, turns out to be a tap-dancing diva who is chosen to demonstrate the tap ronde de jambe. It's a new experience for Tallulah to be what she feels is surely the worst student in the class. She can't help feeling a bit superior when she notices Kacie skipping ballet class, and decides that maybe she'll just skip tap, too. She can't take having that Kacie show her up as she clickety clacks like a pro through all the steps.
But when Kacie and her parents turn out to surprise dinner guests at Tallulah's house, Beckett goes on and on about how much he loves both tap AND ballet.
"I HATE TAP!" TALLULAH SHOUTED.
"I HATE BALLET!" KACIE CRIED.
Suddenly the girls realize they have something in common. What they really hate is being the worst, being a beginner, in the class. But everyone is a beginner when beginning a new skill. And it is the teacher's job to correct everyone.
Our ballet girl gets it and finds a new friend in Marilyn Singer's forthcoming Tallulah's Tap Shoes (Houghton Mifflin Clarion Books, 2015). Singer's popular ballet stories show Tallulah learning more than just the steps in the dance, and this one is no exception. Tallulah gains some humility and empathy, as does Kacie, as they look forward to learning together.
Artist Alexandra Boiger's spot-art illustrations are spot on in portraying the girls' emotions as they each take on a complex new skill. Young dance fans will relish the rivalry and appreciate the new experiences, not to mention Boiger's dance scenes and the glittery cover portrait of Tallulah in a sparkling tutu. The premise of this latest Tallulah ballet tale makes a perfect pas de deaux with Katharine Holobird's recent Angelina's Big City Ballet (Angelina Ballerina). (Read review here.)
Ballet lovers shouldn't miss the earlier top-selling Tallulah tales by Singer and Boiger, Tallulah's Tutu, Tallulah's Solo, Tallulah's Toe Shoes, and Tallulah's Nutcracker. (See all reviews here.)