Get Up and Dance!
It’s been over two years since I started out the Mackin Books in Bloom blog with a post about ballet picture books, called “Dance, Dance, Dance!” Here are some more recent picture books about ballerinas, including a few additions to series that I mentioned in the original posting.
From her pond, Sophie could see the dance students in Madam Myrtle’s Dance Studio, and she was intrigued. She tried to watch through the window, but Madam Myrtle chased her away. She peeked in from the corner for a few days, but that wasn’t enough—she just had to dance herself. Despite obstacles, she did her best, and when the dance instructors announced that they would be trying out for the end-of-the-year performance of Swan Lake, Sophie hopes that she will get a part. But when the list goes up, she can’t find her name. Has all her hard work been for nothing?
Pace’s picture book is written as encouragement to a young ballerina. Don’t worry; don’t be dismayed; mistakes are OK, just do your best—because “the road to ballerinadom can be bumpy.” The illustrations show, however, that this ballerina wannabe is not your typical dancing student. She can take classes only in the evening, her fangs frighten the other students, and when she makes mistakes, she tends to turn into a bat. But the advice is the same no matter if you are human or vampire: Practice! Practice! Practice!
I love words—big words, weird words, old words—so it always surprises me how much I like wordless books. Flora and the Flamingo is no exception. These two ballerinas, a little girl and tall bird, are new dancing partners; neither is happy with the situation, and their body language and facial expressions show it. But as they begin to dance together, even their tumbles help them develop into graceful and gracious partners. This book has large flaps on several pages, and checking to see what is underneath is vital to the story. I usually do not suggest lift-the flap books to libraries, but this one is delightful and clever, and I heartily recommend it.
Series additions to books I recommended in my first post:
Miss Lina’s Ballerinas and the Prince by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier. 9780312649630. 2011. PK-1
Miss Lina’s Ballerinas and the Wicked Wish by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier. 9781250005809. 2012. PK-1
Tallulah’s Solo by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. 9780547330044. 2012. PK-2.
Tallulah’s Toe Shoes by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. 9780547482231. 2013. PK-2.