This whimsical tale of discovery is so full of joy and wonder. It also opens a door to dance in the most charming and accessible way. Readers of all ages will have a ball with Brielle and her friends.
—Peter Boal, Artistic Director, Pacific Northwest Ballet
‘Brielle’s Birthday Ball’ is a creative and interesting new take on a story that includes actions and movements to encourage young readers to join in with the characters. Created by Once Upon a Dance, the story follows Brielle as she celebrates her birthday.
The illustrations in this book are lovely and detailed, and the instructions for the movements for each page are clearly separated from the storyline with a purple background and photos for dancing inspiration, there’s even some separate little songs to sing while doing the actions. I really liked the concept of this book and the time taken on every aspect. The inclusion of the actions doesn’t take away from the large and detailed illustrations or the simple to follow and enjoyable story. I would say that the creators have tried really hard to make sure that the inclusion of the additional interactive element isn’t done at the expense of any other aspect of the book.
A story filled with delight and birthday fun, I think that this would be a brilliant book for any child that doesn’t want to sit still when listening to a story, or just loves to move and dance. It could also be read without the movements for a pleasant birthday-themed bedtime story!
Brielle's Birthday Ball presents picture book readers with inspirational stories of dance by ballerina Konora and others. It celebrates dance movements through the experiences of young Brielle, whose anticipation of her seventh birthday is accompanied by an outline of the steps to an "I'm excited" dance that illustrates, through small step-by-step photos of dancer Konora, bodily reactions to happy news and more.
Each of Brielle's everyday experiences receives a translation into movement. For example, the story illustrates Brielle's unwrapping a special gift of a mysterious advance birthday package that lands outside her door, while Konora's dance translation invites kids to adopt responsive movements: "Pretend to unwrap the ball, then character switch-a-roo and pretend to be the ball. Onto the ground we go, and roll sideways. As the ball stops, find a moment of stillness and rest."
In effect, Brielle's Birthday Ball is a bilingual presentation presented in two languages: that of a traditional story, and its counterpart in movement and exercise.
Adults who work with the very young to read Brielle's discovery and adventure will find the link between dance and life experience to be unusual, accessible, and fun.
Brielle's Birthday Ball is a great way of introducing kids to the world of dance while couching these movements into a broader journey of magic, dreams, and movement responses.
Written by a mother/daughter team, Brielle's Birthday Ball is based on a grandmother's story and celebrates ballet by making young readers "dance partners" in the celebration of life. It is very highly recommended for anyone seeking to introduce ballet concepts at an earlier age, and more accessibly, than most picture books offer.
— D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review