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The Girl Who Wanted to Dance
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The Girl Who Wanted to Dance

2.75  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The call to self expression haunts a delicate, poignant tale about family and art, love and longing — and the ineffable tie between parent and child.

Clara lives with her father and grandmother in a little village. More than anything, Clara loves to dance, but her father has had too much sadness in his life to abide dancing. When Clara sees a troupe of dancers performing in
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Candlewick Press
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(showing 1-30 of 77)
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Marissa Morrison
Jan 13, 2010 Marissa Morrison rated it did not like it
I've read a lot of bad kids books in the last few years, but this one takes the prize as THE WORST ONE OF ALL. First the girl's grandmother dies. (Books for young children that feature death as a plot point ought to bear a warning label on the cover). Then the girl stumbles upon the mother who abandoned her as a baby to become a dancer in a traveling show. Finally, the father teaches the girl to calmly accept the fact that the mother loves dancing more than she loves the family.
Laura Mcclanahan
Dec 02, 2013 Laura Mcclanahan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 544
Genre- Children's Picture Books

Illustrated by Revecca Walsh, this story does not follow the simplistic plot of most of the children's books on my shelf. Clara is a young girl who always felt a little distant from her father in that she wants to move around and dance, and he always feels lonely and secluded. After seeing dancers in a moving caravan one night, Clara continually steals away in the night to rediscover herself and dance. She also finds her long-lost mother is the dancer who has been
Feb 09, 2012 Alicia rated it did not like it
My five year old daughter and I frequently visit the library and she was drawn to this book because of the lovely illustrations. Yes, it does have beautiful illustrations but they are not able to salvage this book. I am glad that we were reading it at bedtime and that she fell asleep in the middle. I finished reading it and it really hit me the wrong way. I was still bothered by it the next day.

I really, really dislike the way the author brings the girl's mother back only to have her leave again
Oct 24, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it
My girls and I found this at our library. I read to both of them after they'd been away at their grandparents house for a few days. In the story a girl is raised by her granny and father. Her granny dies and the little girl discovers her mother in a traveling dance troupe. The mother leaves again at the end with a promise to return when the girl is older. My seven-year-old was crying by the end. Had I known it would end this way I would have stopped reading. The mother's actions seem unrepentant ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Lori rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2010 Shillene rated it did not like it
I was shocked to find this book in the library, such a sad story.
Apr 03, 2011 Rebecca rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
Started off boring, got weirder and ended up hating this book.
Kayla Satterly
This book is about a young girl named Clara who lives with her very sad, quiet father and her grandmother. She enjoys listening to her grandmothers’ stories about how her mother was a dancer. Clara does not remember her mother. Clara has a strong desire to dance and when she hears music coming from her town square she sneaks out to dance with them. She is amazed by them but must return home. The next morning she sees them leave in their wagons. That night Clara wants to know more so she sneaks o ...more
Lauren Milam
Apr 15, 2016 Lauren Milam rated it did not like it
Shelves: kids
0 stars.
What a awful story. The illustrations were beautiful but it's not worth it because the story is terrible. No one should read this book. There is no beauty in abandonment. This book emphasizes the selfishness of human beings. Family and love always comes first. If you want to go be selfish, don't have a family. Don't hurt a little girl and a man who you promised to love forever. Terrible messages.
Jun 29, 2009 Katrina rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 8-11 Year Olds Who Like to Dance
Shelves: picture-books
Ehrlich skillfully guides her audience toward understanding and empathy for everyone, both the dancer and the loved ones she leaves behind, and Walsh’s richly toned acrylic paintings extend the story’s moody, melancholic beauty and poignant sense of the characters’ emotions. Children may be troubled that, after a tender reunion with Clara and her father, her mother leaves once again, and the specific themes of reconciling family life and artistic independence may tap more into adult concerns. Le ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Joenna rated it liked it
Shelves: 2nd-3rd
Clara lives with her father and grandmother in a little village. More than anything, Clara loves to dance, but her father has had too much sadness in his life to abide dancing. When Clara sees a troupe of dancers performing in the village one June day, she is enchanted enough to follow their wagons deep into the forest — and what she finds there changes her life forever. This bewitching fairy tale by master storyteller Amy Ehrlich, tenderly illustrated by Rebecca Walsh, honors the call to the ar ...more
Apr 08, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2010
Claire lives with her father and her granny. Dad is pretty quiet and withdrawn, mother is gone, granny is Claire's best friend. She encourages Claire to dance, teaches her to play piano, etc. Then she dies. Her dad is even sadder and won't let her dance or play the piano. When a troupe of dancers and musicians comes to visit her town, she is inexorably drawn to them.

Lovely illustrations. Story ends a little abruptly and perhaps a little too dramatically.
Jan 27, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it
The main character, Clara, finds the greatest joy in learning to dance in this book. Dancing simply intoxicates Cara in the story and despite information to the contrary, Clara wants to learn to dance no matter what! I love how inspirational this story is and I plan to reccomend this story to a student in my first grade classroom who wants to learn to sing and dance. I hope this will serve as her reinforcer to learn to follow her dreams no matter what!
Lucia Benzor
Sep 25, 2010 Lucia Benzor rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, the-arts
A sweet book for kids and does a good job of talking about death and how that impacts people in different ways. Great for talking about what activity or other things were passed down to kids from parents, grandparents, etc.
Mar 17, 2009 Molly rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and sweet story about a girl who loves to dance and a grandmother who tells her stories of her mother. I can't say more without giving it away but it enchanted me. Grades 3+
Feb 28, 2011 Isela rated it it was amazing
This book is so sad because Clara's grandmother dies, her dad would not let her dance and her mom left
her when she was little. However, she met her mother, who abandoned her again.
Apr 17, 2009 P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: jfic
beautiful, color-saturated pastel crayon(I think) illustrations. a story that seems like it's a comfortable folktale.
Feb 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Beautifully illustrated, but.... very odd way of weaving beauty into abandonment.
Apr 19, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Powerful story with illustrations that could stand alone.
Jul 17, 2009 Jacqueline rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
A predictable but sweet book with beautiful illustrations.
Feb 25, 2009 Marie rated it liked it
This story has an old-fashioned fairy-tale feel to it.
Tina Bartholoma
Dec 10, 2009 Tina Bartholoma rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
"split families, dancing, expectations & dreams"
Mar 18, 2010 Angela rated it liked it
A sad book. Beautiful pictures.
sad story - gypsy mom
ChildRoots Caroline
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Noel rated it it was ok
Sep 24, 2016
Britannia Roberts
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Sep 18, 2016
Marianna rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2016
Dana rated it it was ok
Sep 06, 2016
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Amy Ehrlich is the author of more than thirty books for young readers and is also a winner of The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for her novel Joyride, which was also chosen Booklist Choice Best Book of the Decade. She lives on a farm in Northern Vermont with her husband and a great many domestic and agricultural animals.
More about Amy Ehrlich...

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