PreS-Gr. 2. Clorinda is just a farm cow until she goes to the ballet. There, a dream is born. A clever rhyming text (which successfully scans!) follows Clorinda to New York, where she waits tables as she hopes for the chance to show the world she can really dance. Rejection? Of course: "We simply aren't hiring cows now, my dear." But she perseveres, and is finally able to phone Farmer Len with the news that she's going to dance Giselle. Still, there are problems.

She warns fellow dancer Lou that he may not be able to catch her, and, sure enough, in a marvelous two-page spread, the worst happens: Lou is flattened. But the crowd cheers anyway, applauding the dancers' willingness to do their best.

Clorinda's debut is also her closing night, but her return to the farm is triumphant; she's enlisted to teach ballet to a delighted array of pigs, chicks, cats, and ducks. As fine a mix of story and message as this is, it's the irrepressible art that makes this book shine. Kellogg is at the top of his game, finding the humor in every line, whipping his scenes into a design so varied that children will never be bored, and offering a bovine so divine that it's hard to take your eyes off her. Much applause for Clorinda. Ilene Cooper



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