Books have an uncanny habit of coming into my life when I need them. Cloudette, when I was grumbling about the rain, for example. This week, it’s Tallulah’s Tutu, a new picture book written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. I’m not sure who needed this book more: Rue or myself. I think we’ve both benefited from it.
Young Tallulah is fixated on getting a tutu. She goes to her first ballet class, does as she’s asked, performs perfectly, and expects that she will receive a tutu. She does not.
This is sounding a bit like Rue’s life story.
Week after week, Tallulah gives her all at the dance studio. Week after week, the tutu fails to materialize. She finally asks her teacher about it, and when her teacher replies that it takes a long time and a lot of practice to earn a tutu, Tallulah has a massive meltdown.
That never happened in this household.
She’s so distraught that she considers quitting dance altogether. Try as she might to rid her system of ballet, it continues to fill her thoughts and dictate her movements and she decides to return to dance, tutu or no tutu. But of course, she eventually gets her tutu.
Delayed gratification, earning something rather than feeling entitled to it, hard work, and dedication are nicely presented here. No heavy-handed message or lesson. No lecturing. The text is fun, the lovely watercolor illustrations are lively and emotive, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Which means that Rue has asked for this story again and again and again.
And hasn’t asked for a tutu since.