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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Belinda The Ninja Ballerina by Candida Baker, ill. Mitch Vane. Melbourne: Ford Street, 2015

It’s every little girl’s dream to be a ballerina, right? Well, not in the case of Belinda, the ninja ballerina. Enrolled in ballet classes against her will, Belinda would take a headstand over a pirouette any day. But nobody will actually listen to Belinda’s protests that she wants to be a ninja, not a ballerina. That is until Belinda stages a one-girl protest and demands her rights. Her teacher has to put her thinking cap on and finally comes up with a solution that will keep everybody happy.

I wondered, when I was looking for this image, whether there was any connection with Belinda The Ballerina, another children's picture book, about a small girl who wants to be a ballerina but has big feet. However, I gather its's a coincidence. According to the post by author Candida Baker, she got the idea during a Queensland holiday trip, thinking of her own daughter and imagining a girl doing ninja moves instead of ballet ones.

Anyway, the book is a delight, something any mother can read with her little girl and remember her own childhood. I remember my own ballet lessons when I was about seven. I wasn't very good, though. The teacher put me in the back row at the concert. If only she'd made me a spider...

And lucky Candida Baker, having Mitch Vane to do her art! Mitch illustrated my own book for Allen and Unwin, Your Cat Could Be A Spy, and though there was a lot more text than in a picture book, she made herself my partner and interpreted the text, not just illoed it. If you weren't smiling at the text, you were chuckling over Mitch's wonderful cartoons.

So imagine what she can do with a picture book. This artist is perfect for this kind of book.

Another wonderful book from Ford Street!

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