Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone

Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier

Rating: 4.5 stars

Confession time: I bought this book for a little birthday girl in Ben's class but, once I read it again at home, I couldn't not give it to Lorelei.  So she got it from Santa and we have read it about twice a day for the past week or so.  It is a really fun read--I had no idea how many words and girls' names rhyme with "ballerina!"

Miss Lina teaches a bunch of cute little girls--all dressed in pink, all with names ending with "ina."  Well, not just a bunch.  To be precise, eight.  They danced in four rows of two every minute of the day.  The beautiful illustrations that give Lorelei something to look at more closely when she "reads" this by herself show these ballerinas joyfully leaping at the market, through the zoo, at bedtime, and everywhere in between. 

Enter the bit of adversity: a new ballerina joins the class (luckily, her name--Regina--ends with "ina" too)!  But, wait!  Now there will be nine!  Three rows of three?!  In the beginning, the girls all bump into each other and cause even the super graceful Miss Lina to tumble down.  They just can't get the hang of it.  Miss Lina smiles, and tells them they'll soon realize how delightful three rows of three will be, as soon as they adjust to the addition.  Of course, within a few pages, they do, and they repeat all the things they do in a different line up.  Check out the book trailer (it's about 50% of the text):

This is such a good example of perspective, and how different things can look from the lens of a child than that of an adult.  The girls are "befuddled" at the thought of having to dance in a different lineup, but Miss Lina nods wisely, letting the girls figure out for themselves how to adjust to this change.  What seems like a minor nothing to an adult is a major catastrophe for the child.

Lorelei is of the age where it's helpful to have a book or story to which I can relate a current situation in her life.  We've asked her to move from one room to another in our house, and while we dressed up the new, bigger room with a "big girl bed," a new quilt from beloved Grammy, a dollhouse from Santa (yup, we caved), and we will soon paint it pink...she is still sleeping in her old room.  I don't want to make a big deal out of it and I don't care if the situation stays this way for a few more months because to her, it's a Huge Change to move ten steps down the hall and into a bigger bed.  For us, it's a funny little thing that is actually a gift.  Anyway, it's all about perspective, and it's hard to require a 3 year-old to have one!

This is a really sweet book, a must for any ballet-crazed child!

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