Tutus Aren’t My Style

Written by: Linda Skeers

Illustrated by: Anne Wilsdorf

For ages: 4-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Tomboys, Exploration, Open-Mindedness, Family, Love, Acceptance.

Summary: This book is super cute!  The main character Emma loves playing in the mud, lizards, and climbing trees.  One day, she gets a package from her uncle!  Inside is a tutu and complete ballerina outfit.  Confused, she asks those around her how to be a ballerina.  Some say she must jump a twirl, be delicate and float, and make music.  Instead, all Emma can do is make burping noises and fall over.  Emma decides that maybe she can make her own music and dance moves, instead of take advice from others.  What happens is a routine totally unique to Emma and her life.  She shows this routine to her uncle who surprises her with a visit, and he is very impressed.  He says he never pictured her as a ballerina, which is why he sent her a safari outfit!  The two of them investigate the package he sent, and it turns out the company sent Emma the wrong costume!

This is a sweet story, and a quick read.  Emma is open-minded about trying something she never really considered was for her, and it’s clear her uncle knows her well and supports what she loves.  This is a great book for that lovable tomboy in your life, or to help children be open to a variety of activities.

Reflection Questions:

  • Emma’s uncle seems to know her pretty well. Who knows you the best in your family?
  • Have you ever tried ballet?
  • What did you think about it?
  • Do you think a specific type of person does ballet? Why or why not?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Skeers_Linda-002_d200Linda Skeers is the author of this book!  Here is her author statement from her website:

I realized the power of the written word before I learned to read. Words were all around me – in books, on signs, TV and cereal boxes. I had high hopes on my first day of kindergarten – finally I would learn to read! We colored. We napped on rugs. Ate graham crackers. Finger painted. Then it was time to go home. We had NOT learned to read and I made my displeasure known – loudly! It earned me a Time Out behind the painting easel.
 Thank goodness for Mrs. O’Connor in first grade. I remember the sheer joy of reading the sentence, “Run, Dick, run.”
 I wrote my first book when I was about 9.
 As a child, I went to the library every Saturday morning. One week I’d check out a stack of books about pioneers, the next week it might be UFOs or ghost stories. Or football. Or mysteries. Or snakes. Or poetry. I still read every night and always have a huge pile of books next to my bed. And in the living room. And the sunroom…
When I wasn’t reading, I was outside exploring the woods, building forts, riding my bike, catching frogs, or playing kickball with the neighbor kids.
 I didn’t think of writing as a career when I was younger. I was encouraged to do something practical like be a nurse or teacher. I always liked helping people so I became a nurse and worked in a hospital and a doctor’s office. But I never forgot how much I loved reading and writing.
Too bad there’s no cure for a bad perm!
After I grew up and got married, my husband and I went camping almost every weekend. Here we are at Backbone State Park – our favorite place!
anne wilsdorfAuthor and illustrator Anne Wilsdorf was born to Alsatian parents in Saint-Paul de Luanda, Angola, in 1954. After a childhood and adolescence spent living in many countries (Angola, Congo, Argentina, Morocco, France, and Belgium), she settled in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1976. There, she began publishing her drawings in newspapers and children¹s publications, followed by her first books. She has continued this path ever since, working with publishers in Switzerland, France, Germany and the United States. Her books, numbering more than twenty, have been translated into numerous languages, most recently into Korean.

Anne Wilsdorf was the Swiss candidate for the prestigious Andersen prize in 2000. Complementing her work as an illustrator.  Anne Wilsdorf has illustrated over 20 books for children, including the Ezra Jack Keats honor book, Sophie’s Squash. Anne currently teaches illustration at l’Ecole Romande des Arts de la Communication in Lousanne.

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