Title: Marie: Mystery at the Paris BalletMarie
Author: Jacqueline D. Greene
Illustrator: Lyn Durham
Pages: 71
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Star Rating: ★★★★

French ballet and frivolous fashion take the stage!

The Story.

Marie loves to dance. More than anything else in the world she loves the feeling of lightly prancing on her tiptoes, pirouetting through the air and ending with a graceful curtsey. Her parents agree that her talents should be developed, and place her in classes with the renowned Madame Allard. Marie thrives in the new environment.

But her standing in Madame Allard’s class is threatened when a wig is destroyed and she is accused of doing it out of spite. Can Marie prove that she is innocent? Or must she leave her much-loved dancing troupe?

Discussion.

Relationships in Marie are good. Marie and her parents get along famously – when Marie struggles with her floundering friendship with Joelle, it is her mother who gives her good advice on how to regain her friend’s confidence. Marie exhibits humility by apologizing to Joelle for her thoughtless behavior, and in the end, she also shows a markedly charitable spirit by desiring to give several of her beautiful dresses to those less fortunate than her.

Also, although Marie initially struggles in her relationships with her fellow ballerinas (they tease and prod her), she eventually wins them over through her kindness.

Being part French myself, I enjoyed the smattering of French vocabulary included in Marie – and was especially tickled by the fact that a glossary was included to help with pronunciation. Having grown up in heavily French-influenced Louisianan culture, these pronunciations roll off the tip of my tongue, so it was a good reminder that even in the “United States” is a variety of cultural experiences.

Conclusion. Good – not a historically enlightening story, but a friendly, fluffy one.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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