Friday, January 12, 2018

Together Forever? Ella Bella Ballerina and the Magic Toyshop by James Mayhew

Ella Bella danced along the street to her ballet lesson. Her teacher, Madame Rosa, was waiting by the door of the old theater.

The other little dancers are already on the stage, whispering excitedly at the sight of Madam Rosa's magical musical box, surrounded by a number of beautiful dolls.

"May we play with them?" asked Ella Bella.

"Why not dance with them?" said Madame Rosa as she opened the music box.

Madame Rosa tells her little ballerinas the story of La Boutique Fantastique, The Magical Toyshop, presided over by a kindly toymaker, and Ella is enchanted by the dancing dolls.

When the lesson ends, Madame Rosa invites Ella Bella to stay and help her tidy up, and as they do, she tells Ella the story of each dancing doll. Ella is especially drawn to two beautiful dolls who dance to the music box as if they were made to be together.

But just then customers come in and begin to look among the music box dolls. One family picks one of the dolls, and another snatches up the other doll. Both families get very angry. No one can buy them both!

But Ella notices that the two dancing dolls look very sad.

"They are very much in love!" she cried. "It would break their hearts to be parted!"

Can Ella Bella Ballerina save the dancing dolls from being separated forever? In James Mayhew's latest in series, Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop (Ella Bella Ballerina Series) (Barrons, 2017), Ella Bella gets some help from toyshop magic in a fanciful story that will please both young doll lovers and balletomaines, illustrated with the author's delicate frou-frou scenes that fit this charming story right down to the dancing French poodles. Appended is an English retelling of the original story of La Boutique Fantastique.

This story pairs well with James Mayhew's popular Ella Bella Ballerina and The Nutcracker (Ella Bella Ballerina Series). (see review here.)

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