Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop

Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop
James Mayhew
Orchard Books

Alongside his books focussing on famous artists and their work, James Mayhew has created the Ella Bella Ballerina series to introduce children to famous ballets and this is his latest.

When young Ella enters her ballet class and steps onto the stage, her teacher invites the children to dance with the toys placed around the magical music box.

Staying behind after the lesson to help, Ella replays the music, starts to dance and finds herself outside an enchanted toyshop.

Therein she discovers an amazing world of dancing dolls and other fantastic objects all cared for by a kindly toymaker and his apprentice.

Particularly exciting is a pair of can-can dancing dolls that are in love.

But when two families come into the shop, both demanding to buy them, it seems as though the pair will be separated.
They’re heartbroken at the thought: could there perhaps be a way that Ella can help them to stay together forever?

Mayhew’s introduction to the classic ballet ‘La Boutique Fantasque’ is utterly enchanting. His vibrant scenes will captivate all who love ballet, young and not so young; and for those who want to know a little more, the final page provides information about the origins of the ballet, first performed in London in 1919 by the Ballet Russe.

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