The Blurb On The Back:
One girl, four bunnies, and a wonderful dancing adventure.
It’s the day before the big show, and Millie and her friends, the Ballet Bunnies, have a busy day planned.
Everything is going smoothly until Millie checks her bag and finds that something very important and fluffy is missing! It’s time for Millie to retrace her footsteps …
BALLET BUNNIES: TRIXIE IS MISSING was released in the United Kingdom on 6th January 2022. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book
You can order BALLET BUNNIES: TRIXIE IS MISSING by Swapna Reddy and Bunny Talib from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK. I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Millie is extremely excited. Today is the day that Miss Luisa’s School of Dance are having their dress rehearsal at the Town Hall for their show tomorrow. Millie has been practicing very hard and her mum has promised her that they will go to their favourite cafe for a hot chocolate after they’ve picked up Millie’s costume from the shop. Millie has promised the Ballet Bunnies – Dolly, Fifi, Pod an Trixie – that they can come with her to watch the rehearsal and the show.
Millie and the Bunnies have a lovely day but once the rehearsal is over, Millie realises that her lucky hair clip is missing and worse, so is Trixie! Upset at the idea of the tiny bunny being missing (and unable to tell her mum about the Bunnies because only she knows about them), Millie doesn’t know how to find her but when she tells her mum about her missing hair clip, her mum suggests that they retrace their steps. With the Bunnies’ help, can Millie find Trixie again?
The sixth in Swapna Reddy’s BALLET BUNNIES SERIES for children aged 5+ combines bunnies and ballet in a way that will appeal to girls in particular but which also has a sensible underlying message of what to do if you lose something (and also what to do if you get lost). Bunny Talib’s illustrations are cute without being cutesy and it’s great to read a book that shows ballet is for people of colour.
I haven’t read the preceding books in this series so I wasn’t wholly familiar with the set-up here but Reddy does provide enough information to get an idea – Millie seems to love ballet but isn’t especially natural at it so the Bunnies (who seem to live at the ballet school) help her but she has to keep them secret. There are 4 Bunnies in total – Dolly, Fifi, Pod and Trixie – with Pod being the only boy. I can’t say that there’s an awful lot of character difference between the Bunnies other than that Trixie seems to like snoozing a lot, which is a shame because it does mean that the Bunnies are a bit interchangeable.
This seems very much a book pitched at girl readers. The lovely illustrations by Binny Talib, (which at times have a bit of a 50s vibe to them in terms of outfits) are in shades of pink and yellow and all the storytelling is very much on the cute and fluffy side of the spectrum. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this of itself and I really like the fact that this is a ballet book with a non-white main character because it shows that ballet is for everyone. However, I do think there’s a bit of a missed chance to perhaps get some young boy readers into ballet given that the pink and fluffy qualities may put them off. For example, the fact that the only male character – Pod – loves wearing a tutu is likely to be a non-starter for boys and while personally, I am down with it, I did wish that maybe there was more about the strength and agility side of ballet as appealing to Pod so that boys have something they can relate to.
The story works well and there’s some emotional punch to it when Millie realises that both her hair clip and Trixie are missing. I like the emphasis on retracing steps and being responsible and involving a grown-up – they’re sensible messages but do not come across as being preachy. I also liked the fact that Trixie makes the point that once she realised she was lost, she stayed where she was so that it would be easy to find her. There’s also an underlying theme about the importance of working hard and practicing in the text as the point is made at how much Millie has worked to improve her ballet, which is why she’s doing well in the show.
All in all, I thought that this was a fun read that ballet-mad 5-year olds are particularly likely to enjoy and I would definitely check out other books in this series.