Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ballet Books from Britain: Estoril's Entry

Estoril, Jean [Allan, Mabel]. Ballet for Drina. Macdonald, 1987.

Alas, poor Drina: that which she desires most, she is forbidden to attempt . . . and this, plus her machinations into the general realm of working around her guardian's rules, make up nearly the entire story told in Ballet for Drina.

Drina loves to dance, and longs to dance, but somehow her grandmother (and guardian) always seems to find reasons to keep her from having proper lessons. Some of this changes when Drina changes school and meets a friend named Jenny, who takes ballet lessons although she would rather be learning to farm. Persuasions occur, and lessons are allowed, and a heartwarming friendship begins; the story, though simple, is pleasing, and little girls who love ballet are sure to enjoy this book (and probably its sequels) as well. Of course, there are also the necessary pangs and heartbreaks, and permissions granted become restrictions along the way, but the plot at heart is simple (and, it is to be confessed, entirely predictable from the very first chapters of the novel). Still, there is much to enjoy here for the youthful balletomane, and it would make an excellent second series for young readers who have finished Streatfield and are looking for another collection of British ballet books with which to fuel their imaginations.

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