TWELVE KINDS OF ICEEMMA AND JULIA LOVE BALLET
Scholastic Press February 2016
Recommended 4-6 yrs
Written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Emma and Julia love ballet.

Emma is learning to be a ballerina.
Julia is a professional ballerina.
And they are both excited about
the big performance in the theater tonight.
Emma will be watching from the audience.
Julia will be onstage!

Award-winning author/artist Barbara McClintock has written and illustrated this enchanting picture book that will charm every child with ballet dreams!

*Horn Book starred review
*Booklist starred review
*Publishers Weekly starred review

“Emma wakes up early. Julia wakes up early, too…They both have ballet lessons this morning.” McClintock follows young Emma as she goes to her ballet lesson and professional dancer Julia as she attends company class and rehearsals, pointing out similarities in their days (“Both teachers make them work very, very hard”). A lively mix of page layouts keeps the pattern fresh—as do several differences (“Some of Emma’s friends dream of dancing on Broadway. Some of Julia’s friends do dance on Broadway”). Soon, these characters’ stories intersect: Emma will be attending Julia’s performance that night. The back-and-forth vignettes continue as both characters prepare for this exciting event, and the story culminates in a double-page spread of Julia’s glorious grand jeté at center stage, followed by a heartwarming encounter between the two dancers. McClintock’s fine-lined penand- ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations ably capture Emma and her classmates’ youthful movements and Julia’s technical proficiency and grace. Along with the similarities and differences in the two dancers’ routines and surroundings, readers will spot many ballet-centric details. This engaging and matter-of-factly diverse (Julia is African American) behind-the-curtain look at a ballet dancer’s life will be appreciated by young dancers, who will see both a reflection of their own experience and a glimpse of what’s to come." —Starred, Publishers Weekly

“Emma wakes up early. Julia wakes up early, too…They both have ballet lessons this morning.” McClintock follows young Emma as she goes to her ballet lesson and professional dancer Julia as she attends company class and rehearsals, pointing out similarities in their days (“Both teachers make them work very, very hard”). A lively mix of page layouts keeps the pattern fresh—as do several differences (“Some of Emma’s friends dream of dancing on Broadway. Some of Julia’s friends do dance on Broadway”). Soon, these characters’ stories intersect: Emma will be attending Julia’s performance that night. The back-and-forth vignettes continue as both characters prepare for this exciting event, and the story culminates in a double-page spread of Julia’s glorious grand jeté at center stage, followed by a heartwarming encounter between the two dancers. McClintock’s fine-lined penand- ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations ably capture Emma and her classmates’ youthful movements and Julia’s technical proficiency and grace. Along with the similarities and differences in the two dancers’ routines and surroundings, readers will spot many ballet-centric details. This engaging and matter-of-factly diverse (Julia is African American) behind-the-curtain look at a ballet dancer’s life will be appreciated by young dancers, who will see both a reflection of their own experience and a glimpse of what’s to come.” —Starred, Horn Book

“Ballet is the best thing in the world to Emma and Julia. They both wake up early in the morning and go to dance class, where they adore their teachers, stretch, and spin. Yet there’s something very different about these two ballerinas. Emma is a little red-headed girl learning her first positions, while Julia is a young African American woman in a professional ballet company. On every spread, McClintock (Adele & Simon, 2006) mirrors the girls’ respective days using simple, direct text to highlight similarities and differences: “Emma’s mother drives her to her lesson. / Julia takes the bus by herself.” Her lovely illustrations in pastel watercolors, inks, and gouache effectively contrast the young girl with the older. Attention is paid to small, but important, details—the casual clothes Julia wears in rehearsal (most ballerinas don’t practice in tutus) and the “little kid” posture of Emma and her classmates (stomachs pooched out, angular arm positions, etc.), making for a refreshingly realistic portrait of dance lessons. Their paths diverge slightly when Emma gets ready to see a ballet performance, and Julia prepares to dance in that very show. A tender backstage meeting brings Emma and Julia together at last—a perfect end to a perfect day. McClintock’s simple story captures the joy of ballet and affirms the idea that dreams can come true.” —Starred, Booklist

“McClintock takes a turn from folk and fairy tales to share a sweet story of an aspiring ballerina and her professional counterpart. Emma, a young red-haired girl, gets ready for dance class and excitedly prepares for her first trip to the ballet. On mirroring pages is the story of Julia, a woman of color and professional ballerina, who goes through her day in the city preparing for her lead role in the evening’s performance. As their days both come to an end at the theater, the opposing pages blend into one cohesive story and Emma and Julia meet backstage for a hug and an autograph and to express their love of dancing. Young readers interested in ballet will appreciate the glimpse into the life of a ballerina. The seemingly insignificant details of Julia’s everyday life paint a picture of her as a real person, and the parallels to Emma’s routine further encourage young dancers to see themselves in both of these characters. The story line is simple, the language straightforward and repetitive, further emphasizing the similarities in the lives of the two characters. The pen and watercolor illustrations are expressive and bright, the characters warm and emotive. McClintock makes effective use of white space and leaves the full-color spreads to the dramatic scenes of the performance hall and stage, where Emma and Julia’s stories converge. VERDICT An informative and heartwarming selection about the lives of ballerinas of different ages.” —SLJ

This tandem narrative parallels the day of young Emma, a little dancer who loves her class and hopes to be a ballerina, with that of the older Julia, who has achieved Emma’s dream of dancing professionally with the ballet. They both rise and eat breakfast and head off for class; they both have friends that enjoy other kinds of dance (Emma’s friend yearns to be on Broadway; Julia’s friend dances there). Come evening, Emma excitedly attends the ballet performance in which Julia dances, and a backstage visit bonds the two (“Emma and Julia love ballet”). The parallel is an appealing way to demonstrate the trajectory from young balletomane to actual dancer, and the modest details of grownup life (“Julia takes the bus by herself”) may be just as heady for the audience as Julia’s onstage success. McClintock’s trim line and watercolor illustrations balance tidy touches of detail (Julia’s flowered costume, Emma’s tongue sticking out in concentration as she does her homework) with spacious backgrounds and the fluid poses of the dancers. For Emma and the viewers, the experience of attending the ballet (the great auditorium with huge crystal chandeliers) is even more visually dramatic than dancing in it. There’s di- versity in both kid groups and adult groups, with African-American Julia a nod to the author-illustrator’s love of the legendary Judith Jamison. This would be a lively complement to Isadora’s Bea at Ballet or other young dancer tales. DS —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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