One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.
Swan is a beautifully illustrated and written picture book depicting the life and death of Anna Pavlova. The reader is taken on a journey through Anna’s humble beginnings in a snowy city in Czarist Russia through her triumph on stage right through to her tragic end.
This is a book that needs to be read aloud. As you read it you will find the verse takes you up / and down / and to and fro, much like a ballet dance. The way the author managed to convey all the beauty and elegance of Anna’s dance through the rhythm of the text is truly a triumph of the written word. Just try and get through it without your voice catching. I haven’t managed it yet!
The author handles Anna’s death well and in a way that a younger reader (or in my case two little listeners) might not understand what has happened. This may invite conversation – or not! You can choose as a parent how to deal with it, which I think was smart. I honestly think it would have done this book a disservice to gloss over or ignore her death. It is a sad ending, but it manages to be portrayed in a truly beautiful way.
There is also a really great Author’s note with a two page, fairly detailed run-down of Anna’s life as well as a bibliography and quotation source which may invite more opportunities to explore Anna’s life.
This is a fantastic choice for any young reader, especially ones with an interest in dance.
Swan is available to purchase from Amazon, and book-stores near you!
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!