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Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring

Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan. Brian Floca, illus.
Publisher Roaring Brook Press  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 10.75 x 10.25 x 0.35 inches
ISBN 9781596433380
Pages/Publication Date 48/2010
Daedalus Item Code 40530
This item is not available.
(A Robert F. Silbert Honor Book) This superb collaboration between two authors (who singly and together have earned Boston Globe–Horn Book and Printz Award honors) and illustrator Brian Floca (who also won the Caldecott Medal for Locomotive and provided the art for the Boston GlobeHorn Book Award winner Poppy) is itself a story of collaboration for readers 7 and older. In a spare yet evocative text and simple, expressive ink and watercolor drawings, it depicts the 1944 ballet Appalachian Spring as a co-creation between choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who together created a story told in movement, music, and symbolic scenery. The book includes substantive biographical and bibliographical notes.

"If Martha Graham's choreography for Appalachian Spring was a 'valentine' to the world, as critics wrote in 1944, then this book is a love letter in return. Simple, poetic prose tells the story of the creation of one of the world's most-loved ballets and compositions, and Floca's graceful watercolor illustrations take admirers through every part of its development. Written in the present tense, the narrative has a sense of drama that carries readers along as if the events were happening in real time. Fascinating details about the collaboration among Graham, Copland, and Isamu Noguchi (set design) are well documented in the lengthy 'curtain call,' notes, and resources pages, which read like a fantastic set of liner notes. Floca varies the illustrations from vignettes to bird's-eye views to landscapes and expertly capture the fluid movements of the dancers. The page layouts are well planned to create the most movement and interest. The authors researched extensively but found a way to crystallize all of the information into a gem that is approachable for young readers. More than anything, this work emphasizes the value of collaboration and celebrates the work that Graham, Copland, and Noguchi did to bring together the performing and visual arts."—School Library Journal (starred review)

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