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Ballerina Dreams: Book 1
Poppy's secret wish
by Ann Bryant
Poppy desperately wants to take the ballet exam with her best friend Jasmine. But when a new girl arrives in class, she’s distracted. She's convinced she’s failed but a little help from her friends means her wish might still come true.
Hi! I’m Poppy. I’m ten years old and I’ve got red hair and freckles. I’m the only one with red hair in my whole ballet class. You can’t see much of it, thank goodness, by the time I’ve scraped it back and put on my ballet hairband. I wish I could scrape my freckles back too. That’s only a small wish though. I don’t mind them all that much really. My big wish is much more important.
“Why such a worried face, Poppy?” Mum was looking at me in the driving mirror.
“Because I am worried. Miss Coralie’s going to tell us who’s doing the exam today. What if she doesn’t pick me?”
My heart was doing the little popping thing it does when I’m nervous. Just thinking about Miss Coralie makes me go jittery.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
“She might not think I’m good enough though.”
“Then you can do it next time. It doesn’t matter, does it? What’s the rush?”
Mum didn’t understand. She knows I really like ballet. In fact, she knows I love it. But she doesn’t realize that it’s the most important thing in my whole life. She’s got no idea that I have daydreams of being the best in my class and getting specially picked to go to a proper ballet school – even though I know it could never happen in a trillion years.
And she doesn’t know that sometimes I practise in my bedroom when I’m supposed to be fast asleep. I lie on top of the quilt and stretch my legs till it hurts.
I’d like to be as supple as Tamsyn Waters. She can do the splits front ways and sideways, and she can also lie on her tummy and curl herself backwards so her feet touch her nose. She’s a bit of a show-off though.
Everyone knows that Tamsyn is sure to be picked for the exam, and then she’ll go up to the next class with Jasmine.
“But I want to get into grade five, Mum. I don’t want to be left behind because I’m not good enough.”
“It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough if you don’t get picked, Poppy,” said Mum carefully. “It just means that you’re not quite ready and that you’ll probably be able to do it next term instead…or the one after.”
I sighed. “That’s ages and ages away. We’ve only just started this term. And anyway, it would mean I’m not good enough, because Miss Coralie keeps telling us that it’s not only to do with how well we’ve learned the steps, it’s to do with our whole attitude to ballet, and how much we practise and what our overall standard is like.”
Mum was looking very serious. No wonder. There was nothing she could say, because I’d told the total truth and if I wasn’t picked it meant I wasn’t good enough. The end.
And, actually, it would feel like the end of my whole life. Nobody understands that because it’s secret. Well, nobody except Jasmine Ayed. She’s my friend from ballet.
Thinking about Jasmine made a little burst of words come zipping up my body and out of my mouth. “I can’t wait till afterwards!”
Mum gave me a big smile in the mirror. “I’d better go home and get on with the tea when I’ve dropped you off, hadn’t I? If Jasmine gets half as hungry as you do after ballet classes, I’m going to have a job fitting all the food on the table!”
I felt a bit babyish when Mum said that. She doesn’t usually talk to me as if I’m a baby. I think she was just trying to keep my mind off this big important day. But it didn’t work.
“I won’t be in the same class as Jasmine if I don’t get chosen, you know,” I said in a bit of a whiny voice.
“Miss Coralie might well decide to keep you both in grade four, as you’re so much younger than all the others.”
“She won’t keep Jasmine down, I bet.”
“Well even if she doesn’t, you’ll still see each other.”
“Only a bit. It’s not like we go to the same school as each other.”
“Well…” Mum’s eyes were darting about now. She was looking for a parking space. “I’ll just pull in here, love. Now, don’t go getting yourself all worked up or you won’t do your best.” She turned round and gave me one of her firm smiles, as I call them.
I got out of the car and ran, with my dark blue bag banging against my side, to the big heavy door of The Coralie Charlton School of Ballet.
Ann Bryant is both an author and a musician. She started her writing when she was young, writing a play when she was still at primary school. At school, one of her favourite activities was just hanging out with friends and Ann is happy to relive these times again with the girls of Silver Spires in the fantastic School Friends series. Ann now teaches music and drama as well as writing children's fiction, including the very successful Ballerina Dreams series.
Visit www.annbryant.co.uk to find out more.
If you're mad about dancing, you'll love these Ballerina Dreams stories by Ann Bryant.
Disney Girl Magazine
An amazing amount of tears, tension and true grit is packed into this short novel. Sure to be a hit.
Do you agree or disagree with the reviews below? Why not write your own?
Poppy's secret wish
I think that this book is very understandable for young girls. I especially like the person Mrs Coralie. I really, really like this book and I hope others like it too!
Briana Clarke, 10th June 2008
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