Ballerina Swan

“The idea for Sophie’s story came to me while I was watching a swan swimming on a pond. I thought, ‘What if this graceful, exquisite creature decided to become a ballerina?’” 

Alegra Kent, principal dancer, New York City Ballet

“The theme of Ballerina Swan is one that I have employed in my own stories: find what you love to do, then persevere, practice, and take chances; learn from failures to master skills and become freely creative. This story is a uniquely charming iteration of my favorite theme.” 

Emily Arnold McCully

“These anatomical subtleties, together with their social and aesthetic consequences, are brilliantly – at times, piercingly – rendered by the book’s illustrator, Emily Arnold McCully.”

Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

“McCully, a Caldecott medalist, uses watercolors and pen-and-ink for delicate and detailed paintings. Sophie is imbued with a winning personality.”


“McCully’s famed delicate pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork is an ideal match for the topic. The artist balances the comic (Sophie using an Ipod for practice) with the sublime…”

-School Library Journal