Best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard turns her attention to the fascinating world of mice in Starring Prima! The Mouse of the Ballet Jolie, the punny, funny tale of a precocious mouse blessed with extraordinary balletic skill and a strong desire to dance her way to worldwide fame.

Prima and her many siblings were born in a grand piano that sits backstage at the Ballet Jolie in New York City. And, like her mother (Madame Pianissima) and her grandmother (Madame Mousielle), Prima has a delicacy of step and largesse of leap that quickly separates her from her peers in the mouse ballet. But becoming the prima ballerina of the American Ballet Rodente is not enough for Prima. She wants humans to see her dance! And she wants to dance in Paris, as well! The determined and clever Prima gets herself into varied as she pursues her dreams of fame; her loving parents are at first exasperated and then amused. Even more amusing are Mitchard's descriptions of the family structure of the mouse world and the activities and pursuits with which the mice fill their days. An encounter with the Nutcracker's Mouse King is quite memorable, as well.

As in her adult novels (The Deep End of the Ocean, Twelve Times Blessed), Mitchard has created multidimensional characters to whom readers will readily relate. The members of Prima's family and social circle are presented with care and humor, as are the sympathetic human characters, from Angelo the usher to Prima's friend Kristen. It is with Kristen that Prima is able to see the world beyond her piano-home. The two learn together about the value of family and the importance of pursuing dreams. Starring Prima!, with its delightful story and whimsical illustrations, will surely leave readers smiling, and perhaps wanting to try a pirouette or two. Linda M. Castellitto is pretty sure her hamster, Geoffrey, knows how to break-dance.

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