Noel Streatfeild The Junior Bookshelf - Essay

The Junior Bookshelf

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[A Young Person's Guide to Ballet] has been written with the ordinary child in mind, the one who wants to learn to dance, with the result that some ballet steps are described, so is the way lessons are run and the history of ballet, together with synopses of some ballets and histories of dancers and choreographers. There is much here to absorb and interest children, so it seems a shame that it should all have been written from such a height. It is not a fictional story, in the proper sense of the word, so one does not expect to become absorbed in the story line or the characters, but it would have made easier, more pleasant reading if one had not been aware of the writer pulling the strings from first to last. In addition, in spite of the fact that the author has loved and watched ballet for years, the way she passes on the information makes it all seem very third hand, as if it were researched information rather than knowledge she had accumulated over the years. Balletomanes will enjoy the book regardless of the way in which it is written; those not so dedicated might not press on, thus losing much valuable information and knowledge on the subject.

"The New Books: 'A Young Person's Guide to Ballet'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 39, No. 5, October, 1975, p. 342.