Miss Lina’s Ballerinas, by Grace Maccarone and Christine Davenier

As much as I try not to insert any personal predilection into my kids’ activities, I must say I was hoping my daughter would want to do ballet. Because really, what’s sweeter than a little girl in a tutu? Nothing, that’s what. So after becoming obsessed with The Nutcracker ballet on Netflix (and insisting on watching it daily and listening to it in the car for months), she begged me to sign her up for ballet. She was too young at the time in Hawaii, then we ended up spending that year off the grid in Montana, and finally we settled down here in Michigan.IMG_2206So last fall I signed her up for classes in the same studio where my mother took me as a four year old, with visions of sitting on a bench with the other parents watching the cuteness unfold in the form of baby-faced little boys and girls twirling around and practicing lopsided pliés. But no. The children were ushered in and the door unceremoniously shut; the parents were left on benches in the hallway to wait it out (and understandably not distract the dancers). Fortunately for me, Elsie is perfectly happy to show me her moves every afternoon, running…ahem…gracefully across the living room and leaping over whatever slipper or book she’s placed in her path. I’ll take it, she knocks me out.

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I bought this book when I signed her up, not realizing that it’s a series and there are more. Miss Lina’s Ballerinas, by children’s book editor Grace Maccarone, is a sweet, pink rhyming book about a group of ballet students dancing together.

Miss Lina's Ballerinas | www.ameliesbookshelf.com

The beginning is a little reminiscent of Madeleine (In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines). 
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Miss Lina has eight dancers in her class, all with rhyming -ina names- Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina, Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina. They do everything together, and dance to everything. And they’ve got their configuration situated- there are eight of them. They dance in four lines of two. But a new girl joins the class and while she’s friendly enough, all of a sudden there are nine in the class and the girls are thrown for a huge loop.IMG_1329

There’s some awkward fumbling, a bit of discord step-wise, and eventually they figure it out by rearranging themselves into three rows of three. And that’s it- it’s a very simple story but still very enjoyable. There’s lyrical rhyming fun, a message about teamwork, some practice with ballet terms, and all with a bit of math thrown in!IMG_1332

The illustrations, by Christine Davenier, are very light and airy and have a fun sense of movement in a delicate pink color palette. IMG_1336We end up reading this most Monday afternoons after dance class.

Do you have any other recommendations for budding ballerinas?

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15 thoughts on “Miss Lina’s Ballerinas, by Grace Maccarone and Christine Davenier

    • Thank you! The first one was taken when we lived in Hawaii in the height of her Nutcracker phase, the second was taken after ballet practice a couple of months ago. 🙂

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  1. This book looks so cute!! I love the illustrations. Adding it to my list now! I enjoyed the book Naughty Toes-but it’s more about a girl who finds that though she might not be good at ballet like her sister, she’s still good at dancing!

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  2. Awww, so very sweet! I haven’t seen this one yet, so I’ll add it to our list. We read a book this week called Toe Shoe Mouse. It’s beautiful and cute. I’m going to run a post on it during the girls’ recital week next month. We also love the Tallulah’s Tutu series.

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    • Yes, this is a must read. It’s so hard to come across a rhyming book that really knocks it out of the park, isn’t it? Good luck to your girls for their recital, can’t wait to read about it! 🙂 I’ll add Tallulah’s Tutu to the list, too.

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  3. I love this book (actually all three in the series), and I love how you incorporated those beautiful photos of your daughter (the very essence of free-spirited dancing!) into your post. I second the above recommendation of the Tallulah books (the newest one comes out this spring, about tap dance)–definitely the most “technical” of the picture book dance series. We LOVE “Deer Dancer,” by Mary Lyn Ray, which I wrote about last year (love, love love, and I think you really will, too). And, of course, “Brontorina.” 🙂 (Geez, could I use “love” any more? Clearly, bedtime beckons…)

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