If you have a little girl (or boy) who loves ballet, you should know about the Ella Bella books by James Mayhew. Ella Bell Ballerina and the Nutcracker follows the same basic plot as the other books in the series. Ella Bella, a little girl who is lucky enough to have her ballet class meet in a beautiful old theater, is told part of the story of a classic ballet by her teacher, Madame Rosa. Ella Bella then stays behind after class and is transported into the ballet by Madame Rosa’s magical music box. Once in the ballet, she meets the characters and dances with them acting out the rest of the ballet’s story.
For hard core dance enthusiasts, there isn’t a lot of actual ballet in these books. No discussion of steps or ballet terminology. But the books do a lovely job of telling the story of each ballet through the eyes of a girl who is likely about the age of the reader. It’s a sweet way of introducing some of the classic ballets to young readers and would make for a great way to prepare for seeing some of these ballets performed live.