Ballet Bunnies

The New Class; Let's Dance
Bk. 2. ed. by The New Class. Bk. 1. ISBN 9780593304938; ISBN 9780593304921. ––––. ISBN 9780593304938; ISBN 9780593304969.
Gr 1-3–A new young reader series that is as saccharine as cotton candy. Millie, a little girl with brown skin and stylized facial features, has just turned six and her dream of ballet classes has finally come true. At Miss Luisa’s School of Dance, Millie starts her first class, and realizes that regardless of her enthusiasm, first position is not easy. She also quickly meets the “mean” girl Amber. Amber fits the stereotype of pushy, in charge, and unwelcoming. Feeling a little overwhelmed after the first class, Millie sees shadows flitting across the studio and finds four tiny bunnies in tutus. These four bunnies can talk to Millie, and help her learn her first ballet steps. Dolly, Fifi, Pod, and Trixie befriend the girl, and Dolly travels home with Millie in her backpack. The story continues with protagonist preparing for a gala performance and rehearsing with her bunny friends. The second title has a tad more excitement when Amber hides Millie’s watering can prop for the performance in the garbage. Of course, Millie finds her watering can, rescues Dolly (who was hiding in the can in order to support Millie during the performance) and it all ends happily. The illustrations of the bunnies are realistic, sweet, and adorable. This is a seemingly charming young reader that, unfortunately, has little plot or character development, and doesn’t really bridge the magical and real-life connections. Most of the story is so predictable that six- and seven-year-old readers will quickly lose interest.
VERDICT Bunnies and ballet go together like peanut butter and jelly, but this series never learns first position.

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