Jake the Ballet Dog

Bravos for Jake the Ballet Dog

Jake“Open these books to raise the curtain on the wonderful world of the arts.” —Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancing legend; choreographer; former artistic director, The American Ballet Theatre; actor

“Jake, the lucky dog! His exciting adventure continues at the ballet, bringing both dog lovers and dance lovers together at last! This is a joy to read, sharing insight into the magic and mystery of all that happens behind the curtain. Bravo!” —Julie Kent, principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre

“Once you read the thoroughly enchanting Jake the Ballet Dog, you’ll be inspired to see a performance of The Nutcracker immediately for a whole different Jake (I mean, take!) on this classic tale.”—Peter Martins, former principal dancer; choreographer; current ballet master in chief, New York City Ballet

“Charming and accessible.” —Kevin McKenzie, artistic director, American Ballet Theatre

“Toe shoes, tutus, and a terrier-mix! Jake’s latest foray into the arts is a wonderful introduction to the world of ballet that will jeté into the hearts of children of all ages.” —Carol Lynn-Parente, executive producer, Sesame Street

“It doesn't surprise me that Karen LeFrak has written a book about a dog who wants to be a ballet dancer. You may think it’s impossible, but listen to me, if you could see Karen’s dogs—so smart, so trained, so elegant—you'd believe this story in a minute. This is a wonderful book. Your kids will love it. And now you know this could really happen.” —Regis Philbin, host, Live with Regis and Kelly

“The book is fantastic! I can't wait to read it to Barron.” —Melania Trump, mother and philanthropist

“Jake, the canine protagonist in Jake the Philharmonic Dog, is introduced to a New York City ballet company as it gets ready for its annual performance of The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Readers get glimpses of the beloved ballet as Jake interferes with the company’s rehearsals, but the book is really more about ballet in general than it is about The Nutcracker in particular. The stylish illustrations show the work of the improbably patient ballet master and the dancers as they try to resist the irrepressible pooch’s efforts to join them onstage.” –School Library Journal

“LeFrak and Baranski team up again for their second story about Jake the terrier, who previously learned about the orchestra in Jake the Philharmonic Dog. This time Jake is staying with a ballerina named Allegra who is starring as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Allegra discovers that Jake can leap and twirl and bow like a dancer, so she takes him along to her ballet class and to a dress rehearsal. Jake learns a few ballet steps and terms in class and then interacts with the cast as the rehearsal proceeds. Professional ballet terms and the characters and plot of The Nutcracker are skillfully woven into Jake’s story, introducing both the art of the dance and the most popular and frequently performed ballet in the United States. The large format and Baranski’s polished paintings in saturated colors bring the beloved story to life, with well-designed pages that incorporate the complexity of performance. Two final pages compile all the ballet terms into a glossary cleverly titled “Foot Notes.” –Kirkus Reviews

Jake the Ballet Dog? What an unlikely title! But, that's okay because this is an unlikely story, which is probably one reason why youngsters will thoroughly enjoy it.

Allegra, a prima ballerina, is taking care of her friend's dog, Jake. Now, Jake looks quie like an ordinary dog - his heritage is questionable, he's black with several white paws and an active tail. However, Jake does have some unique sensibilities. Since Allegra is in the midst of rehearsals for The Nutcracker ballet, she takes Jake to the studio with her. Little did anyone suspect that he would be so enthusiastic about ballet. As the dancers warm up, Jake also assumes a position.

It's not long before Allegra is showing him off to the other dancers by tossing his toys so that he leaps for them, and standing on his hind legs for a cracker reward. Well, all of this is fun during rehearsals but what might Jake do during an actual performance?

Youngsters will not only like the story line but will also learn a bit about ballet, such as some common words - arabesque, pirouette, en pointe, etc. Of course, the endearing story of The Nutcracker complete with the prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy always entrances. Artist Marcin Baranski gives credit to New York City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker as inspiration for her artwork. The book also includes a glossary of terms.

It's a treat to come across a children's book that not only entertains and amuses but also educates. - Gail Cooke