The Little Balinese Dancer
is a children's picturebook about a
young Balinese girl, centred on the death of her grandmother and the
passing on of traditional culture as she learns the legong
The background is everyday life in Bali — the rice harvest,
buying food in banana-leaves, sniffing as a greeting, gamelan
music — and something of Balinese religion — origin myths, the
layout of the house compound, cremation ceremonies and so forth.
This is all integrated into the story completely naturally, however,
with Pamela Noensie finding what seems to me just the right tone.
The illustrations by Garretta Lamore are an elegant fit for
the story. And the text is large and the vocabulary and syntax
unthreatening; Tari worked as an early reader for us as well as
Read Tari for a moving and thoughtful approach to a grandparent's
death, and a vivid and compelling entry into a different culture.
It is the most impressive of the children's books about or set in
Bali that I have seen.
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