Kid’s Review: A Dancer’s Dream

Kid’s Review: A Dancer’s Dream

About the Book and Author

This luxurious picture book tells the story behind the first performance of The Nutcracker ballet in St Petersburg when the part of Clara was danced by a girl called Stana. Based on Katherine Woodfine’s short story which first appeared in the Winter Magic anthology, A Dancer’s Dream is the perfect read for ballet fans of all ages and is a gift book for generations of readers to enjoy together.

Katherine Woodfine’s fine narrative which describes the backstage roles of the ballet masters, the young dancers and the composer Tchaikovsky is brought to life by award-winning illustrator Lizzy Stewart with full colour artwork all the way though the book and is published by Simon & Schuster.

You can hear the author talking about the making of A Dancer’s Dream on our Books For Your Library podcast.


A Dancers Dream front cover
Katherine Woodfine author portrait

Katherine Woodfine studied English Literature at Bristol University and the University of Manchester, and spent six years working for the reading charity BookTrust on projects such as the Children’s Laureate. Katherine is the author of the Sinclair Mysteries and Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series. She has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. This is her debut picture book.

Lizzy Stewart has written and illustrated many books for children, including There’s a Tiger in the Garden, Juniper Jupiter and The Way to Treasure Island. She won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the World Illustration Awards in 2017.

Book Review

The book is full of courage and hope

A Dancer’s Dream is a story about a 12 year old girl, Stana, who trains at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, She auditions successfully for the role of her dreams, Clara, in The Nutcracker, a new ballet. Stana has to go on stage even though her little sister is very ill and she has fallen out with her best friend who would like to have been picked to dance the role of Clara.

What I love about this book is that Stana has to train really hard for the role of Clara and she uses her feelings about her sister who is ill in hospital to bring lots of emotion to her dancing. Stana thinks that if she is successful and dances perfectly it will help to make her sister get better. I really like her courage. I also like Mr Tchaikovsky, the piano player, who helps Stana by caring about her sister and making her feel as though she is dancing well.

Overall, I think this book is lovely to read and I enjoyed the descriptions of Stana’s dancing. The book is full of courage and hope even though the first performance of The Nutcracker was not a big success!

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If you would would like to buy a personalised copy of the book signed by Katherine Woodfine these are available from our podcast bookshop 

Order Here

Otherwise please support your high street by visiting your indie bookshop

Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian, if you cannot find the book on its shelves.

Either way, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Young Reviewer Alex
  • Name: Alex
  • Age: 11 years
  • Likes: dancing, skiing and hockey
  • Dislikes: spiders and tomatoes
  • Favourite Book: 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison
  • Favourite Film: Enola
  • Favourite Song: Giants by Dermot Kennedy