Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swan by Laurel Snyder

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a beautiful nonfiction story.

Swan_jkt_Bologna.inddSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
Written by Laurel Snyder
Illustrations by Julie Morstad
52 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 18, 2015

Theme/Topic- Perseverance / Kindness

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: 

“The city is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
and all around.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “One night, her [Anna’s] mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

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.

Why I liked this book- This is an amazing book! The illustrations are top-notch, and really bring you into the story. They are incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. The ratio of detail to blank-space is very compelling. The story line itself is a great blend of the biography of Anna Pavlova and emotion-tugging heart-strings. Ms. Snyder puts it in a marvelous free-verse poetry style, with repetition and a rhythmic feeling. This is an amazing book, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone! There is a great balance between learning, and a great story!

Activities and Resources- Learn more about Anna Pavlova HERE.

The author includes a little bit of info in the back for an older reader, if they are interested.

Here is a video of Anna Pavlova in her “Dying Swan” role:

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Categories: Age 6-9, Perfect Picture Book Friday

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25 replies

  1. I have been meaning to get this out of the library. It sound remarkable!

  2. This is definitely a book I want to read! My mother was a professional ballerina, so I’m drawn to stories about dancers. An Anna Pavlova was truly a prima ballerina. I especially love that the book is written in free verse.

  3. Yes! This one is on my list, too. I have to check to see if I’ve already requested it from the library. I think I have….

  4. Anna Pavlova certainly inspired me to become a dancer (my first career, a long time ago). She led a fascinating life and lived for a time in a part of London very dear to me. What a lovely idea for a beautiful re-telling of a wonderful story bound to capture the hearts of little girls everywhere.

  5. This sounds like an amazing book. I love that the story is so good and that the illustrations are top notch. I love the cover! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. I’ve wanting to see this one. I was fascinated by the Dying Swan ballet when I was little. Sounds like a gorgeous book!

  7. What a fabulous book. I love books about real people who followed their dreams. A good role model for children.

  8. this sounds like an amazing book – and a true story, to boot! definitely putting it on my “must read” list.

  9. This book looks lovely. My daughter just started loving everything ballet so I’m sure she’d love this book. I’ll have to find it for her. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. This sounds so incredibly beautiful – it’s heading my “must read” list too.

  11. I’m interested to see how this compares to Firebird (Misty Copeland’s ballet story).

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