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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Pinky’s feeling a little left out. Her best friend, Emma, has the lead role in the upcoming Swan Lake ballet. Another friend, Bella, has a major role as well. Bella and Emma start spending more time together as they work on their ballet routines. Pinky has a minor role which makes her feel distanced from her friends. When she notices whispers and secrets being shared between Bella and Emma, she really starts to worry that she’s been forgotten. But, she still helps out when asked and, when her birthday approaches, she’s hopeful her friends won’t forget.
Lindsay DeRollo’s picture book story, The Swan Lake Surprise, is a sweet story about friendships and doing the best with what you have. The plot begins with a brief introduction to the characters and what role they will play in the Swan Lake ballet. Then the plot follows Pinky as she deals with growing feelings of isolation and possibly losing her friends. Pinky makes a strong female protagonist who feels the pain of isolation but doesn’t let it get the better of her. She still helps others and continues to be her happy, friendly self, even as the worries grow inside. The climax is Pinky’s birthday and the resolution leads Pinky to the realization that good friends last forever, even when they find themselves distanced for a period of time. This is a beautiful story with lovely illustrations. A great way to build young girls’ feelings of self-worth and importance.