F is for … First Ballet — Perfect Picture Book Friday

As stated in my first A-to-Z post, I intend to continue my usual posts while keeping to the letter of the day. So today, F is for the picture book entitled First Ballet. (And there is a bonus book, as well!) Click to read more…



Title: First Ballet

Author: Deanna Caswell

Illustrator:  Elizabeth Matthews

Publisher: New York: Disney Hyperion, 2009.

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: ages 4-8

Theme: ballet, attending first ballet, dreaming of being a dancer

Opening Sentences: Sun sets, Shoes shine. Sunday best. Stand in line. Hands entwined in the cold. First ballet. Five years old.

Synopsis: A grandmother takes a five-year-old girl (who is never named) to the theatre where she experiences her first ballet and is captivated. Sparse rhyming text provides a nice counterpoint to the vivid illustrations.

Activities/Resources: The New York City Ballet has a section for kids on its website, including crosswords, word games, coloring pages, and lots of information.  There are also teaching activities such as a 3rd and 4th grade lesson plan about the Nutcracker ballet.

First School Years, a UK site, has lesson plans for introducing dance to children.

Availability: Out of Print, despite being relatively recent.

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”


BONUS since the book above is Out of Print


Title: My First Ballet Class

Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Illustrator:  photographs by Leyah Jensen

Publisher: New York: Little Simon, 2011.

Genre: Cross between board book and picture book, fiction

Audience Age: ages 3-5

Theme: ballet, first ballet class

Opening Sentences: It’s my very first ballet class. I’m all dressed and ready to go.

Synopsis: Photographs with watercolor embellishments take us through a first ballet class with one small girl and her friends. Foldout pages (glossy cardstock) reveal simple instructions for ballet steps.

Activities/Resources: PreSchool Rock suggests a ballet party theme.

Fun Lesson Plans offers a preschool/kindergarten lesson plan about The Nutcracker.

The Pennsylvania Ballet also has a preschool activity book about The Nutcracker.

Availability: Readily available in hardcover.

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”


A to Z Challenge

35 thoughts on “F is for … First Ballet — Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. These both sound wonderful, Beth, and we don’t have much (if any) ballet on our list yet, so these are a great addition! I especially like the sound of the first one – too bad it’s no longer in print 🙁 So sad when books go out. Thanks so much for sharing these! (ANd thanks so much for my special package that arrived yesterday! :))

    1. The first one is the best one, for sure. I found it at the library, so hopefully others will as well. I’ve found another book about ballet, but it might have to wait until next year, the way my blog year is filling up!

      Glad the package arrived safely. Hint… there are two packages…

    1. You’re welcome, Stephanie! Hope you’re able to find the book! (I’m late in finding your comment — I have no idea why it got filtered as spam! Sorry!)

  2. Oh the ballet! The beautiful dancing, artistic display of limbs and legs as poetry in motion. These are darling choices. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. How disappointing that First Ballet is out of print as I am particularly drawn to that of the two. I like the idea of the pictures doing most of the speaking in this very physical art form!

    Dod you do ballet when you were little, Beth?

    1. I found the book at the library, so you might find it on one of your New York Public Library expeditions some day.

      When I was very small, I used to proclaim that I wanted to be a “ballerina and a cowgirl” when I grew up. Lack of access to ballet lessons and horses put a crimp in those plans. I’m just an admirer of the art form.

    1. I thought about double-posting for PPBF, then decided to find a way to incorporate them into one post. Sometimes it was trickier than this time! I hope your daughter enjoys the ballet! I was an adult when I saw my first live ballet, because of lack of access. We have no professional ballet here in our city (which was the closest city when I was growing up, but still 85 miles away.)

      1. For three years back in elementary school. It was fun for awhile and then I guess I just got tired of it lol

  4. In my humble opinion, books go out of print too quickly! Sometimes before I even discover them! I never took ballet, but my daughter began dance last year. 🙂 Fun times. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Some books go out of print far too quickly, such as this one. Perhaps you’ll find it at the library, that’s where I found it. I think you and your daughter might like it.

  5. My daughter took ballet and loved any book we could find. I liked that the child in the book attends the ballet and it captivates her imagination! Great believer in exposing children to performance like the “Nutcracker” to expose them at an early age. That’s how interests and dreams begin in children. Also enjoy you bonus read — the only thing that bothers me about this book is that they don’t depict a boy on the cover. Boys, too study ballet and dance. But, it sounds like a great first book to read for young kids. Great choices!

    1. I did find a book about a boy in ballet, but it didn’t fit the alphabetized theme (not to mention three books seemed a little much.) It’s called The Only Boy in Ballet Class. I may have a chance to get to it by next year!

  6. I knew this was your post just from the title, Beth! It’s too bad the first book is out of print, the illustration on the cover makes me want to see the entire story. Perhaps the library will have it. Thank you for the recommendations and activities.

    1. I hope the library will have it, mine did. Or rather, a library in our province-wide system had it.

      Thanks, Heather!

  7. Oh wow, Beth, a two-in-one post! How lovely! I love picture books that feature art, dance, museums, artists, musicians. I wonder if there is any picture book now about hiphop dancing. 🙂 Sad to hear though that Deanna Caswell’s picture book is out of print. Will check whether we still have it in our libraries. Thanks for your thoughtful post. 🙂

    1. Hope you can find the book, I’m sure you’ll like it! I haven’t encountered any picture books about hiphop dancing, but I wouldn’t be surprised!

  8. Thanks for adding these. I love the detail about the unnamed child. We spent all weekend with grandparents and grandmother was unnamed. I think my son would be well-suited for dance classes (He seems to like it now), but all the other family members roll their eyes at me. I like to read dancing books with him to see how he reacts.

    1. Thanks, Stacy. I’m all for boys being in dance class! You might start him in a program that combines music, play and movement. A friend of mine is the originator of a program called Music for Young Children, http://www.myc.com There are MYC teachers all over — there’s a page on the website where you can see if there’s one in your area.

      Also, a book I encountered in my recent reading that you might like is “The Only Boy in Ballet Class” — that one might help your rolling-eyes family members, as the little boy uses the skills he learned in ballet to help his football team to victory.

  9. Hi, Beth. So fun to include two books in your post! I’ve read some of Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s others books (my 5-year-old loves her Biscuit series), but I haven’t seen this one. I’ll have to check it out! Hope you’ll think about submitting this post to the April Read & Romp Roundup, too. It would be perfect 🙂

    1. Thanks for the suggestions — both of the other books, and of the Read & Romp Roundup. I’ve now submitted the post!

  10. For people who have managerial or supervisory experience,
    you may be tempted to include testimonies totally from higher-ups.
    That is outstanding advice, nevertheless you
    can take it farther by including comments from the subordinates.

    Get ready for phone interviews within exactly the same fashion which
    you would face-to-face interviews. You should have the capacity to share yourself at a
    span for several minutes, and explain how most readily useful you fit what they’re searching for.
    This may make it even more likely you’ll be allowed a meeting, which may create a job.

    It is a thing that you’ll be likely to be asked within an
    interview, so ensure you understand what you
    have to say!

    Just abandon it entirely out of your cv, if you are ashamed of something about your own personal past
    in place of lying about this. You merely can’t know if/when a possible company
    will detect the reality.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top