Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brontorina by James Howe, illustrated by Randy Cecil; Dogs don't do ballet by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Brontorina dreams of dancing - but she's a dinosaur and she doesn't have the right shoes. With the ballet students' encouragement, Madame Lucille takes her as a pupil anyways, but it's a disaster! Although she's dedicated and graceful, she's just too big and Madame Lucille asks her to leave. Then a student's mother brings a pair of shoes that's just right for Brontorina and the whole studio decides to find a place big enough for Brontorina to dance. Finally, they set up an outdoor studio for "girls and boys and dinosaurs", incidentally providing Brontorina with a male dancer big enough to lift her.

This is a cute and funny story about following your dreams and making sure everyone's included. It's a bit silly for my tastes and I found the weird placement of eyes on the people odd - I think they're supposed to be looking sideways, but they just look like they have 3 eyes. Still, dinosaur and ballet lovers will enjoy this sweet story.

Verdict: Recommended, this will be a good storytime read to satisfy both your dinosaur lovers and ballet lovers - as well as parents who want a story with a "message".

ISBN: 9780763644376; Published August 2010 by Candlewick; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils

This second title is another story of an unconventional dancer, but this one's just plain fun!

A plump and solemn little girl explains about her unusual dog, "My dog is not like other dogs....My dog thinks he's a ballet dancer!" As the little girl goes to ballet and then to a special performance by the Royal Ballet, her dog Biff sneaks along, but everyone says the same thing, "Dogs don't do ballet!" and out he goes. When there's a sudden emergency, guess who pops up on stage and wows the crowd?

I love the colorful illustrations and the sneaky little dog. The whole story is simply incredibly funny - something about the placid faces of the people and Biff's expressionless doggy face combined with the wild antics make me giggle the whole way through.

Verdict: Perfect for story time and endless giggling!

ISBN: 9781416998396; Published June 2010 by Simon and Schuster; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils

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