Thursday, November 04, 2010

En Pointe! Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone

In a cozy little house, in the town of Messina,
Eight little girls studied dancing with Miss Lina.

Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina.
Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina.

In pink head to toe, they practiced all day.
Plie, releve, pirouette, and jete.
They danced doing math, they danced while they read.
And after their supper, they danced to bed.

If you're hearing echoes of Ludwig Bemelmans' classic Madeline stories here, you are not the only one. The rhyming-named girls do everything together, dancing all the while, and since there are eight of them, their numbers lend themselves to simple even-numbered formations--two by two and four by four, as they practice their ballet lessons.

But then Miss Lina introduces a new student, the appropriately rhyming Regina, and the convenient social order is thrown into a dreadful disarray in the corps de ballet.

The girls were abashed, baffled, befuddled.
Flummoxed and flustered, mixed-up and muddled.

"There, there," said Miss Lina. "You will soon see,
How delightful it is to be three rows of three."

Grace Maccarone, author of the popular The First Grade Friends series, has, in her latest, Miss Lina's Ballerinas (Feiwel & Friends, 2010), a soothing little story for which young ballet fans will releve and jete. Visually, there are a plenitude of dainty pink-clad, petite ballerinas, bolstered by Maccarone's rhythmic rhyming text to satisfy the young fans of La Danse.

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