A slim book that I picked up at the local library, this was a book that looked more like middle grade reading than young adult but it seemed interesting and I flipped through a few pages which also seemed fairly interesting so I thought why not. I'll also admit that the next few comics I'm reviewing are rather large so I wanted a few shorter works as well in case time got tight and I needed to read something really quickly to keep the reviews here balanced. Besides, I like stories where dancing is a major focus so this kind of story seemed right up my alley.
To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Sigel and art by Mark Sigel
Summary: An autobiographical story of Siena Cherson Sigel growing up dancing in the 1970s and 80s, first in Puerto Rico and then at the American School of Ballet in New York City.
The Good: It's a quick and charming read that's sure to make the reader wish they did ballet (or that they could go see one soon) even though Siena mentions some of the hardships she had doing ballet. That said, a lot of sports stories focus a lot on the pain and the things the athlete has to give up for their sport (sometimes leaving the reader wondering why they keep doing the sport in the first place) but this book maintains a happy, positive tone the whole way through and it's easy to see why Siena was willing to give up other parts of her life for ballet, her love for it comes through clearly.
The Bad: Sometimes the transitions between sections were a little rocky and it would have been nice to have even a single reoccurring minor character, very few people in the story are even named which is a bit unusual for any story. This could be explained by the fact that that story was rather short and every panel had to be important but I would have liked the story to be a little longer and give more details on various parts of Siena's life. The story felt complete but I felt like she could have kept the readers attention just as well if the book was a little longer.
The Art: The book is in full color and the art style is a light and slightly sketchy style which I feel like I've seen in other graphic novels aimed at this age group. The art is a little simple but it works well to compliment the story and, with something as visual as dance, it adds to the story and I think makes it work much better than if Siena had tried to explain everything using just words.
I think this book is a good example of middle grade writing that's interesting and done well enough to appeal to older audiences as well (which is why I keep reviewing it, I'm trying to find those books that are good regardless of your age). I would love to know more about Siena's life or read more stories in general that feature ballerinas, too bad that not many come to mind right off hand.