Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Degas and the Little Dancer: A Story about Edgar Degas

Degas and the Little Dancer: A Story about Edgar Degas

Laurence Anholt
For ages 8 to and up
Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 1996   ISBN: 978-0812065831

It is not often that one knows the story behind a work of art, so one feels truly privileged to be able to share the story behind the famous ‘Little Dancer’ sculpture. With her slightly upturned little nose, her peach colored hair ribbon and her foot placed before her in the fourth position, the Little Dancer offers us a glimpse into the world of Marie, a young girl who dreamed of becoming a great ballerina.

The author of this book has beautifully crafted the dancer’s bittersweet story from her point of view and from that of the famous artist, Edgar Degas. What this very skilled storyteller has managed to do is to show us how both the young girl and the old man loose something very dear to their hearts. And yet, something beautiful is created out of their loss and their pain, the beautiful sculpture that is enjoyed by museum goers to this day, a hundred or so years after Degas first asked Marie to be his model. With illustrations done in the style of the great Degas himself, this is a wonderful book for ballet and art lovers alike.