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From the insert in the front of this book we are told, "Angelina is a pretty little mouse who wants more than anything else to become a ballerina. She dances all the time - at home, at school and even in her dreams. She is so busy dancing that she forgets about all the other things she is supposed to be doing, like tidying her room and coming down to breakfast. Her parents are in despair, especially when she does arabesques in the kitchen and overturns the milk pitcher and a plate of cheese pies. Then one day they think of a plan that changes Angelina's life and makes her the happiest mouse in the world."
We love the Angelina Ballerina books, my daughter loves the stories and the fact that she loves to do ballet dancing and I love the stories because they are very sweet and wholesome and something I really love reading to my daughter. My little girl does ballet herself so she loves to hear about Angelina and all the different moves she does and the dances she gets to do.
This story is a cute one in that we see Angelina before she becomes a ballerina. She knows she loves dancing but she's not sure how to harness that love and creativity and ends up dancing into flower beds and causing a bit of trouble. Her parents however come up with a great idea and buy her a ballet outfit and sign her up for ballet lessons at Miss Lilly's ballet school. I like that we get to see the history of Angelina in this book because in subsequent books you see her doing shows for the ballet school and things like that.
The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous. They are delicate little pencil drawings with colour and they really bring Angelina and her friends to life. I think the simplicity and innocence of these drawings goes extremely well with the theme of the book too and it just brings the story to life in ways that big bright cartoon drawings cannot.
This book in particualr has taught my little girl that if you work hard and follow your dreams, you too can be a world class ballerina, ok well, maybe she's not going to turn into a world class ballerina but the thought and intention is there and it shows her that if you put your mind to something you can really achieve anything.
A nice introduction to Angelina Ballerina.
Our favourite ballerina
Of all the books my daughter owns, for ages this was by far her favourite. This would be the one she would insist on reading every night, and although she's moved on to other books now, she still goes back to this now and then and will continue to enjoy it I'm sure.
Angelina Ballerina is a little mouse who enjoys dancing - ballet in particular. The book opens with the lines: "More than anything else in the world, Angelina loves to dance. She danced all the time and she danced everywhere." I know this off by heart as we have read it so often! And in fact after repeated readings, even my daughter was reciting lines of this perfectly - the sign of reading a book too much I think!
We then hear of all the trouble Angelina causes with her dancing - until she gets treated to ballet lessons. The story ends years later (quite unusual in a children's book) and of course has a lovely happy ending.
As well as the nice story, what really makes this book I think are the beautiful illustrations. They are precise and detailed, with muted colours, so quite different to lots of other children's books. My little girl loves looking at these pictures and pointed out some of the small details. She has always seemed drawn to this book, as I mentioned earlier, and I do think the illustrations are part of this appeal.
This is a really lovely book and would make a great gift to a young reader. I must admit I think this is definitely targeted at girls rather than boys, and I think would be good for two years and over.
This currently costs £4.86 on amazon.
Summary: A lovely, attractive book for ballet fans!
We are expecting baby No.2 due in October, so in anticipation of assuming full bedtime duties for our pre-school daughter once the new arrival comes home, I have been taking a more active role in her bedtime routine. Once the jimjams are on, the teeth brushed, and the tinkle tonkle done, its time to choose the bedtime book.
In the past few weeks I have slowly become more and more familiar with the sizeable library of children's books at my daughter's disposal - some new and some tatty - and learning her pet names for her well thumbed favourites.
Amongst these are two books featuring an adorable little mouse called Angelina Mousling who dreams of becoming a ballerina. My daughter has affectionately christened these as her "bally books" and they get a run-out at least once a week.
AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
The story is written by American author Katharine Holabird and is illustrated by Helen Craig, a Londoner now resident in Cambridgeshire. They have been working together on the Angelina series since its creation in 1983, which, along with the twenty-one original books, has spawned a veritable cottage industry of merchandise including DVD's, games, ballet accessories and TV shows, as well as dolls and other toys.
In 2001, HIT Entertainment, who also own the Bob the Builder, Fifi and the Flowertots and Thomas franchises, created an animated TV series which aired in the UK from 2001. An all-new animated series is slated for Autumn release in the UK on Nick Jr.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
"Angelina Ballerina" is the first in the series, and our edition is a 24 page hard cover published in 2001 by Puffin (an imprint of Penguin). It measures around 8 inches by 10 (slightly smaller than a sheet of A4) and comes with dust jacket. It was bought as a gift for my daughter's 4th birthday, so the giver obscured the RRP on it. As such, I am not sure of the price, but in any case, a quick search on-line shows that the book is currently only available in soft cover, with an RRP of £6.99 (currently discounted to £5.19 on Amazon).
Angelina Mousling simply loves dancing. In fact, she loves it so much, she often forgets about her chores. Even at night, all she dreams about is being a ballerina. She takes every opportunity to practice her curtsies, twirls and high leaps, often landing herself into trouble and causing her parents concern.
Then Mr Mousling has an idea. He buys her some pink ballet gear and signs her up for real ballet lessons. She attends Miss Lilly's ballet school where she twirls, jumps and curtsies to her hearts content. She no longer feels the need to dance anywhere else, so the chores get done, and she becomes a great little helper for her Mummy. After practising really hard for many years, she becomes the world famous Mademoiselle Angelina - a prima ballerina.
THE ILLUSTRATIONS & TEXT
The drawings are beautiful, colourful and expressive, and really help bring the story to life. Every page has a main "set piece" illustration, with smaller ones interspersed through the rest of the text. The nuance and detail in each demands closer attention, and I usually find something new each time I read it to my daughter.
The story is simple and easy to follow. The text is fairly large and an ideal size for young readers. I would expect to have to read this to my daughter for a while yet (she's 4), but would imagine she'd manage it on her own in a year or two - provided of course, it stays in her top ten!
The story can be used to teach children the benefit of discipline. Angelina realises her dream by finding a focus for her passion and working hard to achieve her goal. My daughter goes to ballet classes herself, so found the story easy to relate to.
Angelina is a distracted little mouse to start off with, but ends up being a real help to her mother once she starts ballet school. I use this to discuss with my daughter that everything has a time and a place, and you can't do anything you want where and when you feel like it.
There is also some ballet-specific language used in places - such as "plié" (bending at the knees) and "arabesque" (standing on one leg, while the other leg is extended behind the body, with both knees straight) which I was not at all familiar with, and prompted me to learn about them as well.
I found this to be a very well written and beautifully illustrated book, so can fully understand the success of the series. My daughter loves it as well, and is quick to pull it out and show me what she did at ballet class by pointing to one of the many illustrations demonstrating a particular ballet move. I guess I'm not too old or too proud to be taught by my four year old. I've certainly taken more of an interest in her ballet classes since we started reading this book together, and for that alone, its priceless.
© Hishyeness 2009 - previously published in ciao.co.uk under the same user name.
If you know any litle girls who love dancing and anything pink, then you really must introduce them to the world of Angelina Ballerina. Angelina is a character created by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig and has become quite a phenomenom in her own right! There are dolls, magazines, DVDs, a stage show and even her own web site - and this is the book that started it all.....
In this story we meet a pretty little mouse called Angelina. Angelina loves to dance - in facts she loves dancing so much that she ends up getting into lots of trouble because she is dancing when she is meant to be doing other things like tidying her bedroom or getting reday for school! (Strangely enough, I have a litle girl just like that!)
Angelina's parents, Mr and Mrs Mouseling, really despair of her but eventually come up with an idea. They surprise Angelina by presenting her with a large box which contains a pink ballet dress and a pair of pink ballet shoes. They are going to send Angelina to ballet classes at Miss Lily's Ballet School. There are lots of other little girls there but Miss Lily singles Angelina out for praise and tells her that if she works really hard then she will grow up to be a great ballerina. The great thing is that Angelina is so busy dancing at the school that she doesn't need to dance all the rest of the time so she manages to do all the other things that she was supposed to do in the first place!
And guess what! Years later she does grow up to be that famous ballerina that Miss Lily promised!
To my mind this is a lovely quaintly old fashioned book with lots to talk about. All of the illustrations are greatly detailed. Angelina is a very endearing excitable little white mouse with a pink bow on her head, whilst her parents look quite eccentric and old fashioned. The drawings of the house have so much detail and give the whole place a cosy cottagey feel. The clothing that the mice wear is quite strange as most of the time they are only semi-clad! They might wear a hat or a shawl yet have nothing covering their bottoms! I have to say that both my daughters find this very amusing!
The story is very gently paced and you get a real sense of the family as you read it. All the characters are nicely developed and the parents' despair over their scatty daughter feels quite familiar to me! The fact that it is about a little girl who loves ballet is certainly likely to attract many small girls to this story and it really is a favourite with my ballet loving daughters.
I also like the fact that there are many other Angelina books to be read, so the characters we meet in this first book, will be met time and time again in all the others. Although we have read other Angelina books since reading this, both my daughters really enjoy coming back to this book lots of times too.
'Angelina Ballerina' is published by Puffin. We have a hardback version which has a RRP of £10.99 although I do know that it is also available in paperback!
Angelina is a pretty little mouse who wants more than anything to become a ballerina. She dances all the time and her parents are in despair. Then one day they think of a plan that changes Angelina's life and makes her the happiest mouse in the world.