Monday, 29 March 2010

More ballet books

The comments on my Lorna Hill post the other week reminded my that actually I had a couple of ballet series in my collection which I had not mentioned, so I thought I would share them with you here, particularly as I went to see La Fille Mal Gardee two weekends ago and saw Cinderella this Saturday last. I think I loved ballet books so much when I was little, partly because I would have loved to be graceful enough to dance, but also because they were often set in boarding schools, fitting in with my love of this genre. At the moment in miserable February, ballet books are proving to be the perfect comfort re-read.

Dorothy Richards
This trilogy of books tells the story of Moth, a girl who wanted to dance, and eventually goes to ballet school. I read these at primary school, and ended up getting my own copies last year.

Mal Lewis Jones
These six books are about Cassie, a young dancer who wins a place at the Redwood Ballet School, and the friends that she makes there. The books deal with some quite serious issues, such as anorexia, and two of the books involve mysteries and adventure. I loved the boarding school setting of this book as much as I loved its ballet, and remember buying the books with birthday money. Lewis Jones has written a more recent series of ballet books which I have seen in the library but not read.

Jean Estoril
Drina Series
Jean Estoril, the pseudonym for Mabel Esther Allen who you may have noticed being republished by Fidra books, wrote this series of 11 books about a girl who is the daughter of a ballerina, and eventually gains success in her own right. Unfortunately I only have three of the titles, but I remember borrowing the rest from the library

Ballet Family series
Whilst looking at the bibliography for Jean Estoril's Drina series, I found out that she wrote another series of four books called The ballet family series. A quick visit to ebay, and I managed to pick up three of set which I'm looking forward to reading very soon when they arrive (the other being prohibitively expensive!)

And how could I write a post on children's ballet books without mentioning what was probably my first ballet book - Angelina Ballerina? I actually picked up a couple of Angelina Ballerina DVDs in a charity shop last year and was impressed with how the books had been translated to the screen. If only I had an appropriately aged relative to watch and read them with!

I'm wondering now about adult ballet books - Rumer Godden has been mentioned, and Geraldine suggested Adele Geras' Hester's Story which I read a while ago but are there any others?


  1. I'm not a fan of ballet but my boys love the Angelina books. I haven't seen the DVDs - I'll have to keep an eye out for some as I'm sure they'll love them.

  2. The Jean Estoril series (both) sound familiar but the only ballet books I 100% remember reading as a child were the Lorna Hill and Noel Streatfeild ones; of course, I also loved that Jessie in the BSC was a ballet dancer.

    I was never graceful enough for ballet but I used to pretend that I was pirouetting and doing plies and arabesques ...

    The ballet books and boarding school ones were different for me but both were very dear to my heart and dreams that were never realised (with hindsight I think that they were dreams best not fulfilled as I think both were idealisations).

    I am most envious of G's parents who have tickets for the Matthew Bourne Swan Lake tour.

    I can't think of any adult novels about ballet offhand but you've reminded me on a ballet cover art post I wanted to write!

  3. Jackie - how nice that your boys like Angelina!

    Claire - there were so many little girls in the audience at the ballet on Saturday who started practising in the intervals... I agree, I think I had similar dreams which were idealisations (ditto horses - I am horribly allergic, yet was still hugely keen to ride). I saw the MB Swan Lake in 2004, it's fantastic. I can lend you the DVD if you would like.

  4. The covers of these are just lovely! It's so nice when you can find a whole series of books that you enjoy and that hold memories.

  5. Check out today's and yesterday's Persephone Posts for appropriate ballet book covers.

    I've recalled another adult ballet/dance background book. "Mirrors" by James Lipton, sadly I've unable to locate my paperback copy to refresh my memory of the story line. It's either in the wrong place on the bookshelves or went in one of my culls.

  6. Dot - they are lovely covers - very balletish and little-girlish.

    Geraldine - yes, I'd spotted those posts!


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