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Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina
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Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  56 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Growing up on the Osage Indian reservation, Maria Tallchief was a gifted pianist and dancer. According to Osage tradition, women are not permitted to dance, but Maria's parents recognized her gifts and allowed her to break the rule. Then when Maria reached the age of twelve, her father told her it was time to choose between her two loves. Maria chose ballet. It was a decis ...more
Paperback, 28 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Puffin Books
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Love, love, love this book! Rosemary Wells' mother knew Maria Tallchief and Rosemary, inspired by her mother's love of dance and dancing career, wanted to write a picture book biography of Tallchief so she spoke with Tallchief about her memories of ballet, starting as a very young dancer up to the beginning of her professional career. The result is this beautiful and inspiring book. (It is told in first person, and though I'm sure Welles added her own literary nuances, I think the first person a ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all dance and arts appreciators; dancers; those interested in Native American history
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
This book is a real gem. I was surprised how much it emotionally touched me. It’s an outstanding book in every way.

The potential reader needs to know that even though this book is only 28 pages long, it is very long for a picture book. There is a lot of text, too much for a quick read or the very youngest children.

This is a very inspiring biography of a true artist, a ballet dancer. She had also been talented at piano. She had wonderful parents who encouraged her to follow her dream.

The story is
Although I enjoyed the book, and reading about Maria Tallchief's early life, it felt like the book just stopped right in the middle of the story. I would have liked to learn what happened after Tallchief left home and went to New York.

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you: http://www.indiebound.
Amy Varchetti
Aug 27, 2015 Amy Varchetti rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and the illustrations. The introduction by Rosemary Wells was particulary endearing. The only disappointment was that I was hoping for a one-page autobiography at the end to fill in all the gaps and give extended information, but there wasn't one there!
Esther Choi
Oct 28, 2013 Esther Choi rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
This is the biography of how Maria Tallchief became America's famous prima ballerina. It talks about her heritage, her family, her passions and her struggles. This book is written with a poetic narrative. It is informative and inspiring. I especially liked how she described the feelings she had when she danced. The descriptive words she uses when she talks about ballet is beautiful. This would be a good book to use during an autobiography unit or when practicing using descriptive words.

Jillian Heise
Beautifully, lyrically written with soft illustrations that go with the theme of the book. I did feel it ended rather suddenly though. This is the story of Maria Tallchief, an American Indian dancer, and how she grew up and came to be a dancer. She writes her own story here and the influences and beliefs of her culture are apparent in the way she talks about music and spirit. She went on to become America's first prima ballerina, but this story tells of her life before she went to New York to be ...more
Dec 01, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pb
too long for story time. beautiful smokey pictures that slightly abstract the humans, focusing on the geometry of their bodies. This is really an autobiography sorta, since it is written in first person.
Nov 26, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told story of Maria Tallchief, one of America's most talented prima ballerinas. This is a longer book, filled with information. Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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