Saturday, May 14, 2011

Books About Ballet

Emmy began taking ballet and tap lessons almost two years ago. She enjoys going to her weekly dance class and showing off her moves! Since Emmy rolled over, she has been a very physical child liking movement over being still. It is amazing to watch her balance, twirl and leap. Recently, she has begun to choreograph her own dances and put on shows for her Daddy and me. These moments are precious and are the memories that I will recall as she grows as a dancer.

Emmy and I are always on the lookout for books about dance and wanted to share a few of our favorites with you.

*Our very first book about ballet, Ballerina by Peter Sis, was posted here in April of 2009. I knew then that Emmy would want to take ballet especially since she wanted to wear a tutu every single day!

*Brontorina written by James Howe with illustrations by Randy Cecil is a book that we check out of the library quite often. Brontorina Apatosaurus is determined to become a ballerina. Despite being quite agile, her size gets in the way as she leaps along with the other dancers and often crashes into things. Madame Lucille decides that it is not Brontorina's size that is the problem, but that the studio is too small for Brontorina. The children and Madame Lucille search together for the perfect space which is found in the great outdoors. Emmy's favorite page is the very last one where Brontorina is being lifted so gracefully by her dance partner, a triceratops. "Brontorina's dream came true!" says Emmy as she cheers for Brontorina.

*Another favorite book about ballet is Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone with pictures by Christine Davenier

"In a cozy white house, in the town of Messina, eight little girls
studied dance with Miss Lina. Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina,
Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina."

And then came Regina!

Check out the trailer for this, as Emmy says, "adorable book":

We are looking forward to reading the follow up to this book...Miss Lina's Ballerinas and the Prince.

"Then one sunny day, as class came to close, Miss Lina, while taking a classical pose, announced to the girls, in her elegant way, a dance would join them the following day 'He's a boy,' says Miss Lina. I want you to know. He will join us for class and our end-of-year show."

Both books end with a page of ballet terms which is helpful to this non-dancing mom!

*Josephine Wants to Dance, by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, has two wonderful never give up and always dance to your own music. Even though Josephine is reminded quite often that kangaroos don't dance - they hop, she dreams of wearing a tutu and silk ballet shoes and dancing on a stage. She sneaks off to the city to watch the ballerinas practice and when the prima ballerina twists her ankle, and the understudy also suffers an injury, Josephine leaps to the rescue.

You may recognize a familiar character in this's Mothball the wombat from the book Diary of a Wombat which is the first book from the team of French and Whatley.

*Time for Ballet, by Adele Geras and Shelaugh McNicholas, is the story of Tilly and her weekly ballet class. It is told by Tilly and most closely resembles Emmy's dance class experience.

The sequel, Little Ballet Star, shows Tilly's birthday surprise when she goes to see her Aunt Gina star in the ballet Sleeping Beauty.

*Next up for Emmy and me will be the Belinda the Ballerina series by Amy Young. Belinda loves to dance, but her problem is her long feet. We'll check out the first one on our next trip to the library!

This photo is of Emmy at her dance recital last year where she danced to the song Baby Face. This year we are looking forward to watching her dance to Music, Music, Music!

Happy dancing everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2011

In the Garden: Who's Been Here?

Spring has arrived! Every shop in our little town has flower boxes full of the most colorful and fragrant flowers. Emmy and I stop and smell the flowers every day on our way to and from school. We also marvel at the blossoms on the trees. So beautiful!

When we went to the library, we asked the librarian to suggest a book for Spring and she recommended Lindsay Barrett George's In the Garden: Who's Been Here? Perfect! Two children, Christina and Jeremy, and their dog, Sonny, are sent to pick vegetables in the garden where they discover quite a few other creatures who have already been to the garden that day.

George's illustrations are so realistic that you really feel a part of the story. Emmy's favorite page is the one with the chipmunk nibbling the seeds in the sunflower.

"Christina looks down into a large sunflower. Something's
been eating the seeds in the middle of this sunflower.
I wonder... Who's been her
e? A chipmunk."

Emmy loves giving a guess after the repetitive phrase I wonder...Who's been here? and is delighted to turn the page and discover the two page spread showing a close up of the creature and the plant.

This is George's fifth book in the Who's Been Here? series. The first three starred George's own children Campbell (Cammy) and William and are each set in nature surrounding their home (woods, snow, pond) giving the reader a wonderful sense of the great outdoors. The fourth in the series has a slightly different format as it follows a teacher who is traveling the world and reporting back to her students through letters, sketches and maps. Each book in the series has a reference page at the end highlighting the animals giving the reader even more information.

If your child loves nature, then these books would be perfect.

In the Woods: Who's Been Here?

In the Snow: Who's Been Here?

Around the Pond: Who's Been Here?

Here are a few songs about gardening that Emmy and I have been enjoying!

Little Seed (tune: I'm a Little Teapot)
Here's a little seed in the dark, dark ground.
(crouch on the ground)

Out comes the warm sun, yellow and round.
(stand up and connect hands over head)

Down comes the rain, wet and slow.
(flutter fingers and slowly squat down)

Up comes the little seed, grow, grow, grow!
(jump up - jump, jump, jump)

Plant Your Seeds
(tune: Row Your Boat)
Dig, dig, dig the earth
(make digging motion)

Then you plant your seeds
(pretend to drop seeds)

A gentle rain
(flutter fingers down)

And bright sunshine
(circle arms above head)

Will help your flowers grow.
(squat down and stand up raising arms above head)