Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring (Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (Awards)) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-27 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 15 user ratings

"Ballet for Martha was a very interesting story for me to read. The book stars Martha Graham as the main choreographer who dances to the beat of her own drum and doesn’t care what people think. It also stars musician Aaron Copland and artist Isamu Noguchi. I thought the book did a great job touching on something labeled as a classic, that I had never heard of. I thought the little bits of trivia were very interesting like how the ballet earned a Pulitzer Prize. Being a dancer myself, I loved seeing actual ballet steps and correction speech through the book like a pas de deux for the couples dance and a release after a position. One thing I kind of struggle with thought was the exaggerated speech. It was hard to wrap my head around the author saying Martha “has a tantrum” or “throws a shoe” because it seems over done and biased almost. " said.

"This story follows the quest of Martha Graham as she sets out to produce her most famous ballet, the Appalachian Spring. This dance represents a new life in America. Martha wrote the story, with it taking place in Pennsylvania during the spring as a young man and woman get married. It follows the people involved with the creation of the play and all the work that went into it. Opening night ended up being successful, and even today it is still found on stages nation-wide. The illustrations are gorgeous, and it was clear that attention to detail was a priority. There is movement and expression in each one. This book is worth reading for the illustrations alone. I instantly thought of myself when I was young, as I was fascinated with the ballet. This is a great book, especially one that young ballet dancers may find captivating, despite it being base on a true story. " said.

"A picture book history of the making of Appalachian Spring and how Martha Graham, Aaron Copeland, and Isamu Noguchi worked together to create the dance, music, and set. The book also walks readers through the basic parts of the performance.

Make sure you read this where you can easily listen to some of the music too! A great read for music history or arts appreciation. Floca's illustrations are fantastic as always and manage to convey some of the movement of the dance. I like the way it shows how collaboration works to create productions. Short biographies of Martha, Aaron and Isamu are included in the back of the book. Getting kids to sit through the entire Appalachian Spring probably won't happen but they should get sucked into reading this and then be curious enough to listen to some of the music too. Or maybe this will get them interested enough they actually would be willing to sit through the entire performance. Who knows?
" said.

" Magnificent! The double-page spread with Aaron Copeland sitting at his piano and the score in the background is a masterpiece!! " said.

" Done with breathtaking clarity, a masterpiece of explication of creative process in dance, music, and design, in a way that will capture young readers and hold them. Brilliant. " said.

" Spare text conveys the story so well. Well integrated quotes, stunning illustrations. " said.

" Audience: Grades 2-6 (girls especially)Appeal: Powerful story of an American classic, great illustrationsAwards: Nominee of Sibert Informational Book Award, Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book, NCTE Orbis Picture Award, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year " said.

" This picture book about the creative collaboration that led to the ballet "Appalachian Spring" is simply lovely. I love that this account, too, is a collaboration -- two authors, one illustrator -- showing that creative minds working together make beautiful, beautiful things. The illustrations capture energy and movement in a way that's truly stunning. " said.

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