Swan by Laurel Snyder Book Review

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder
Illustrations by Julie Morstad
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: August 18, 2015

The world is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is everywhere
and all around.
But one night...
One night, her mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

So begins the journey of a young girl who will one day grow up to become the world's most famous prima ballerina.

A beautifully illustrated story that is also one of the most melancholy picture books I have ever read. I think it is a very special audience that will fall in love with this book. Considering there is very little biographical information included due to the sparse poetry throughout, I would honestly have not understood everything that happened to Anna if there hadn't been some backmatter explaining more. For example, Anna went to a special school for ballerinas, but the way it was worded and portrayed, I honestly thought she hadn't made it into the school and definitely did not understand that she was separated from her parents. Reading through some of the other reviews, it seems that adults are absolutely enamoured by this book, which leads me to believe that this is a book for adults, cleverly disguised as a work for children. For me, a book that ends with the main character dying in her bed is just a little too sad to be read aloud to the age group that picture books are geared towards.

It should not be overlooked that this story is absolutely beautiful and the sparse language does fit the way the story is put together. And for a child who may dream of becoming a dancer, this story of a great artist may set their imaginations on fire.