Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

James the Dancing Dog

James the Dancing Dog

Linda Maybarduk
Illustrator:  Gillian Johnson 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Tundra Books, 2004   ISBN: 978-0887766190

James was a very special dog. Every day he went to work with his mom and dad who just happened to be dancers at the National Ballet of Canada. From the very beginning he practiced his jumps and plies just like the other dancers and his diligence made him a big hit with everyone who worked at the ballet. He helped his mom and dad teach their classes, he helped the male dancers practice their lifts, and he worked hard to keep the dancers trim by eating their lunches for them.

More than anything James longed to be able to perform in one of the ballets. Night after night be would watch the performances from the wings wishing he could be on the stage but he was always told to stay put and out of the way. Then a new play was announced, a new play that had a dog part in it. Perhaps this was his chance at last. Perhaps now he would get to be the ballet dog he had dreamed of being.

Dog and ballet lovers alike will certainly fall in love with James who quite steals the show in this charming story with its delightful illustrations and unforgettable dog hero. The character of James is based on a real dog who was a part of the Canadian Ballet between 1961 and 1972.