Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone

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Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone (illustrated by Christine Davenier; Feiwel and Friends, 2010) is a cute ballerina picture book about a new girl joining a crew of eight dancers, making the “four lines of two” no longer an option for this tight-knit dance group that does everything together. Their steps are all out of sync now, and they wonder what to do.

The rhyme scheme and story set-up is definitely inspired by Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeleine books. Many of the lines end with the -ina diminutive, including all the children in the dance school: Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina, Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina. It’s a good thing the new girl’s name (Regina) fits right in with the others! Miss Lina’s Ballerinas is much more pleasant to read compared to the Madeleine books, and I much prefer these bright pencil illustrations. I suppose I should probably not compare, but this book is obviously inspired by the other book.

Of course, Regina finds her place and the girls once again dance in step with one another in the end, with a little mathematical rearrangement. My 8-year-old daughter is enthralled with ballet right now, so Miss Lina’s Ballerinas was the perfect book and a delightful read aloud for us right now. She requested a reread multiple times.

Get this book at bookshop.org

Reviewed on December 7, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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