Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin

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Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Your little dancing darlings will love this story, especially if they're more jazz and gusto than grace and beauty!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2011
Publisher: OUP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0192728517

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This dancing story is told to us by a little girl called Trixie. She tells us that her sister, Belinda, is a ballerina but that she, Trixie, is not. We see Trixie shopping for dancing clothes and being drawn to bright colours rather than the pretty pink of the other ballerinas, then in class her toes won't point like the other girls (hence the 'naughty toes'). She's dancing off the beat to her own jazzy rhythm...just what kind of a dancer is she?

Whilst Madame Mina, the ballet teacher, is always shouting 'Naughty Toes!' to Trixie, Mr Tiempo the pianist can often be seen smiling at Trixie's antics. Trixie always wants to dance with gusto...with spirit...and when the palms of her hands are meant to be spotlights shining brightly on her face she ends up waving hers around so they'll sparkle like a disco ball!

My favourite part in this story comes when the ballet school put on a show. Belinda is, predictably, a fairy princess and twirls and swirls in a beautiful sequined tutu. Then we turn the page and Trixie tells us I am a rock! I am all in grey and stand still on the stage. It is hard to show spirit when you are a rock. This bit made me laugh out loud! Poor Trixie looks so fed up, standing in her awful rock costume with her toes turned in. After the show Belinda receives a bouquet of flowers. Trixie receives a box and, inside is a pair of tap shoes and a note to tell her to 'follow her feet'.

With the story being told by Trixie it has a nice, immediate feel and you feel involved right from the beginning. I liked that she's unconventional, choosing the jazzy coloured leotard and shoes and dancing to her own rhythm. And it's fun to see the pictures of everyone in the dance class around her as she does her own thing. It's also easy to read the part of Madame Mina, for with a name like that it's obvious how she sounds!

The illustrations to the story are quite quirky, very stylised and I initially wasn't that keen on the rather mean looking characters with their funny shaped noses. However, the style grew on me (much as Lauren Child did). I think it's a story that works best for older toddlers through to younger school children, particularly those who take dancing lessons. Then all the discussion of naughty toes and dancing to the beat will properly make sense. There are little boys who enjoy dancing, but I think this book is definitely one for little girls, and perhaps especially little girls who have a more bouncy temperament than graceful ballet requires!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For more dancing fun try Daddy Does the Cha Cha Cha by David Bedford and Bridget Strevens-Marzo.

Buy Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin at

Buy Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill and Teresa Murfin at


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