by James Howe, illustrated by Randy Cecil
Brontorina wants to be a ballerina, but runs into obstacles presented by her rather unusual size... you know, given that she’s a dinosaur. The teacher, bless her heart, lets her join the class even as a couple of Mean Girls note that “she does not have the right shoes.” Brontorina does as well as can be expected in a studio build for people, but it isn’t working out for anyone. But rather than give up, the class comes together to find a solution for all. The message of inclusiveness is strong, and yet gently part of the story. My favorite line is from the teacher: “Why didn’t I see it before? The problem is not that you are too big. The problem is that my studio is too small.” Right on, sister! The well-crafted tale is supported by the diverse, amusing, and completely charming illustrations of Randy Cecil. An excellent book for preschoolers and early elementary kids that could be paired with a discussion of how we can all make room for everyone.
(Okay, this is a really stupid pet peeve on ballet books when you consider that this one features a dinosaur and others star dogs and mice, but kids don’t go on pointe — the tips of their toes — until they are in middle school. It irks me. And while I’m spouting off, what up with all the ballet books? Did we hit some cultural arts peak while I was off watching Dancing with the Stars? Really.)
Consider giving this book as a gift along with a pink tutu or look for 105 other ways to give a book.
The Letter B
Book: Grumpy Bird, by Jeremy Tankard
Fingerplay: “Two Little Dicky Birds”
Book: Dog and Bear, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Song: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”
Book: Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, illustrated by Eric Carle
(Some call-and-response or singing or pausing to identify the animals can make this book more participatory.)
Book: Ha Ha, Baby! written by Kate Petty, illustrated by Georgie Birkett
Song: “Rock-a-Bye Baby”
Book: Bounce, written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Scott Menchin
(Then let the kids bounce on out.)
Go here for the full text of songs/rhymes/fingerplays.
Go here for more on how to win twenty-five picture books in the ABC Giveaway.
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