Every time I visit the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I visit Degas’ Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. It’s like visiting an old friend. I can remember holding my daughter’s hand and showing it to her when she was only waist high, and together we’d gaze at the ribbon in her hair and marvel at her gauzy tutu. Now Carolyn Meyer has told the tale of the model of that famous statue as eloquently as it deserves. Marie Van Goethem is a dancer in the corps de ballet of the famed Paris Opera. It is one of her only joys, a time when she can escape the hardships of her life at home. It is when Monsieur Degas requests her as a model that she sees what life could be like for her and her family. She dreams of better days. It is a story of dancing, life, and love, and transformation.
Carolyn Meyer, a veteran of historical fiction, having written White Lilacs and Mary, Bloody Mary, is quite adept at weaving historical facts and descriptions with a lively plot. Marie, Dancing is no exception. (Ages 12+)