Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring


by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan illustrated by Brian Floca
Roaring Brook Press, 2010. 48 pgs. Nonfiction.


On one level, Ballet for Martha explains artistic collaboration--the choreographer, the composer, the set artist, the dancers, the musicians, working together to create a performance. But expanding from there, this lovely book is also about America in its beginnings, about the loveliest and most lyrical American ballet music ever composed which will start playing in your head the minute you open the book, and about what kind of genius and hard work it takes to create something so beautiful. Ballet for Martha richly deserves the Sibert honor award it received last week for the best non-fiction works for children.  Postscript:  The recorded book of Ballet for Martha has what the book lacks; i.e., the lovely, lovely music.  And what the recorded book lacks are the splendid pictures.  For best results, read/listen to them together.

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