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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Miss Lina's Ballerinas, written by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by Christine Davenier. Feiwel and Friends, H B Fenn, 2010. $19,99 ages 4 and up

"Miss Lina announced in her elegant way,
"A new ballerina will join us today.
This is Regina. Her dancing is fine."
Miss Lina's eight dancers had turned into nine.

Then eight ballerinas cried, "What shall we do?
With nine, we no longer have four lines of two."

Have you got a young dancer in your house....who loves ballet, the color pink and names that rhyme? Then, this is the perfect book!

Miss Lina is a superb teacher and her eight students love to dance so much that they dance day and night. Always in four lines of two, they show their exuberance at school, in the marketplace, at the beach and even at the zoo.

All is well until the arrival of Regina...what will they do with nine dancers?

It is chaotic...bumping, out of step, frequent falls. It doesn't take Miss Lina long to recognize the problem and come up with a solution. Why not try three lines of three?

"In three rows of three,
they practiced all day -
plierevele, pirouette, and jete."

Ever mindful of Madeline, I enjoyed this book with its colored pencil art and totally believable young ballet enthusiasts. There is such a sense of movement throughout, which harmoniously matches the rhythm of the text. The delightful colored pencil and pastel illustrations, with an appropriate dose of pink, beautifully complement the simple, rhyming text. The chaos that results from change in so evident on their faces and in their body language. What fun...and not a bad way to introduce young mathematicians to the concept of grouping numbers.

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