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Author: Laurel Snyder

Illustrator: Julie Morstad

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Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2015

Material: hard cover

Summary: This is a gorgeous biography about the life of ballerina Anna Pavlova from childhood up until her death. This picture book is both biography and time piece, explaining life in old Russia.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 12

Interest Level: 4 to 10

Reading Level: 2.5

Age of Child: Read with a 4-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: My daughter is really into ballet, so she enjoyed the book. It was a little advanced for her, but she wanted to read it again. I was sure she would like it because of the ballet and after reading it with her I understood why it was a little difficult for her.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book. I learned a lot and the pictures were incredible!!!

Pros: The illustrations are amazing and take center stage in this story about Anna Pavlova.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. If you have a child who is into ballet, they will love this book and keep it for years.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SEEDS OF CHANGE: Wangari's Gift to the World   CORETTA SCOTT   NUR JAHAN OF INDIA (The Thinking Girls Treasury of Real Princesses)

Educational Themes: Swan is a lot more than a picture book biography. Together, the story and illustrations paint a picture of Czarist Russia that can be explored. With older readers it can be used in poetry to illustrate different forms; and it can also be used to show different ways to create a biography.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, performing arts, picture book, poetry

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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