THE GIRL WHO WANTED TO DANCE by Amy Ehrlich and illustrated by Rebecca Walsh

February 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

girl-who-wantedtodanceClara lived with her grandmother and her somber father near the village square.  Every night Granny would tell Clara stories about her mother, who was a dancer. Clara longed to dance as well. But one day Granny took ill and died.  Clara’s father kept the house dark, and disapproved of Clara’s dancing, or going outside, or playing the piano.  One evening a troupe of dancers set up a stage on the village square. Irresistibly drawn to the fanfare of seeing real dancers for the first time, Clara rushed outside, only to be led back by her father. The troupe left town, crossed a river and camped in the dense forest. Defying her father, one night Clara waded through the river and into the forest looking for the troupe.  There a woman dancer came upon her and let her join the dancing with the troupe.  But then the woman sent her back home, to Clara’s disappointment.  Following her heart, Clara was drawn to visit the troupe again at night.  This time her father followed and, in his encounter with the woman dancer, he let Clara discover that this was her long lost mother, who had left the family to join the troupe.  In the end Clara went back home with her father, with his promise to play the piano so that she too could dance to fill her heart’s desire.  With darkly lit scenes the illustrations suggest the complex theme underlying the storyline.

Ages 4-8, 40 pages

Recommended- Amelia Carling (Pelham)

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