“So, whether you are a ballet dancer or a Bharatanatyam dancer or a breakdancer or a ballroom dancer, only one thing matters: just dance.”

That is the message from Mahak Jain, author of Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes, a picture book from Annick Press.

Paro is excited to learn ballet but worries she will be terrible at it. Her mom reminds her she comes from a long line of dancers, but ballet, Paro says, is not Bharatanatyam. Bharatanatyam dancers move like queens, while ballet dancers are like fairies. You can’t be both can you.

It’s a cute book about the power of dance and the importance of being yourself. I liked that the three main children were willing to learn about what was important to each other and that the adults – Paro’s mom and the ballet teacher – showed the children you can indeed do both. I also  loved that the author included information about two dancers: ballet dancer Anna Pavlova and Bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Devi Arundale, both of whom “reached across borders and inspired each other – uplifting dance as an art form along the way.”

Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes is illustrated by Anu Chouhan. It retails for $22.95.


Dotty, the wiener dog, dreams of being a ballet dancer. When she was told to sit, she would plie, when she was told to roll over, she did pirouettes. Her owner sent her to obedience school when her sisters were practising for the talent show. One day, Dotty met a peculiar squirrel named Louise-Pierre, a performer in acrobatics, who invites Dotty to join him in his daily workouts. Dotty does so, practising even when she wants to give up until the day of the talent show arrives. Despite being kept on a short leash, will she be able to show people her talent?

Ballewiena by Rebecca Bender and Pajama Press ($22.95) is another cute book the importance of going after your dreams and to remember to just dance.

Books were provided by Annick Press and Pajama Press for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.