Swan Lake: Based on the New York City Ballet production

Little Simon. Aug. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481458337.
K-Gr 4–In the third collaboration between the New York City Ballet and illustrator Valeria Docampo, this slightly longer picture book portrays the dark tale of the classic ballet Swan Lake. The text includes the full story, presenting the cursed swan queen and her adoring Prince, the evil sorcerer and his deception in the form of the black swan, and the tragic end as Odette remains in swan form forever. It reads as a beautifully illustrated set of program notes for children. The text describes each scene as it plays out in the performance, using descriptive language and complex vocabulary. The illustrations extend to the edge of each page, and though the stage and curtains themselves do not appear, there is the sense that the frame of the pages make up the borders of the proscenium or fourth wall. The dancers’ postures are graceful and their faces highly expressive. The paintings are ornate, with lighting that both reflects the ballet production as well as the tone of the story. The multitoned blues of the lake are particularly memorable. Prince Siegfried and Swan Queen Odette are both white while the corps de ballet is diverse.
VERDICT A great selection for children preparing to see this ballet in person, or to bring the ballet to the laps of children for whom the live stage is inaccessible

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