Yesterday for Story Time I read Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier.
I was a bit worried that the boys wouldn"t like this story since it featured ballerinas, surely one of the most feminine of images. But I introduced it as a story of friendship and challenged my little preschoolers to consider what message it offered. This challenge, the rhyming words, and the math (an essential element of the story), as well as the entertainment offered by hearing Mrs. Ison say over and over again the names of the dancers --Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina, Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina-- kept the children riveted.
The eight dancers dance in perfect rows, either four rows of two or two rows of four, under the tutelage of Miss Lina, until a ninth ballerina, Regina, joins their group. The result is chaos since the eight cannot figure out how to handle a ninth.
Then eight ballerinas cried, "What shall we do?
With nine, we no longer make four lines of two"
Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina,
Karina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina.
Annoyed and irate, distraught and distress,
the girls started dancing, and oh, what a mess!
Christina bumped into Regina and Nana,
who stepped on Edwina, who fell of Sabrina,
Then down cam Justina, and down came Katrina,
Bettina, Marina, and even Miss Lina!
The girls were abashed, baffled, befuddle
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."
And indeed they do, dancing all around town in groups of three with their new friend, Regina.