Monday, May 18, 2009

Review #28: Belinda Begins Ballet

Lily (age 6):  This is "Belinda Begins Ballet."
Dad:  The Belinda the Ballerina books are by Amy Young.  Do you guys remember Amy Young?
Isaac (age 10):  Yeah!
Gracie (age 8):  She signed a book for us at that library thing!
Dad:  What is special about Belinda?
Gracie:  Her feet are big, and she dances.
Isaac:  Belinda has huge feet.
Lily:  If there were mean guys, she could kick them easily!
Dad:  And if they ran away, her feet could still reach them, couldn't they?
Lily:  But with feet that big, you would trip a lot.  And stumble.  You would knock everybody down.
Dad:  How is "Belinda Begins Ballet" different from the other three Belinda books?
Lily:  She's bigger in the other books.  This is the only one where she is small.  She is a little girl.
Dad:  It's the newest book, but it's a prequel to the others.
Lily:  It's cool.  It shows Belinda when she was a baby.  And it shows her shoes from when she was one and two and three and when she was four.
Isaac:  When Belinda was one year old, she was wearing grownup shoes.  And when she got older, she needed triple-triple-extra-large shoes.  Belinda sneaks cookies out of the cookie jar on tiptoe because she has such big feet.  And she can go skiing right on her feet without skis.
Lily:  Then Belinda begins to dance.
Dad:  How did she get started?
Isaac:  There is a talent show.  I don't know if she was planning on entering or not.  But she became a clown because the teacher Mrs. Rhino told her she had to become a clown.  Mrs. Rhino has a big nose, and she only cares about what she wants.
Gracie:  I've got to find out what grade Belinda is in so I can skip that grade.
Dad:  Well, you're lucky you homeschool, so you don't have to run into Mrs. Rhino.
Gracie:  Oh yeah....
Isaac:  Belinda wants to get out of the clown routine.
Lily:  Then she runs into a ballet person.
Isaac:  She sees a girl named Camille practicing ballet.  And she really liked it.  So Belinda practiced and practiced and practiced on her own.
Gracie:  She read ballet books, watched Camille, and practiced.
Lily:  Her room gets full of ballerina stuff.
Gracie:  At first Belinda's room was just walls, a bed, and a koala bear sitting on the shelf.  But after she likes dancing, she has dancing everything!  Dancing posters, dancing jewelry box, dancing toys.  She has books on the floor that say "Ballerina," "The Legend of Dancing," and "How to Dance."  She even put dancing clothes on her koala.
Lily:  And her room is pink like a tutu.
Gracie:  I LOVE her room.
Lily:  Me too.
Gracie:  What if all of a sudden the cat walked in and even he was wearing a tutu?
Dad:  So what happens at the talent show?
Lily:  She starts out as a clown.
Isaac:  But she changes her mind half way through.
Gracie:  Then she does a ballerina dance.
Dad:  You used to take ballet lessons when you were little, Gracie.  Do you remember that at all?  You were only three or four...
Gracie:  Yes.  I had a really nice and pretty teacher.  When we went to the big show we were dancing to a song about sunshine.  And we wore poofy purple outfits with feathers.
Dad:  What do you think - will there be a fifth Belinda book?  Do you guys have any new story ideas for Belinda's feet?
Lily:  "Belinda and the Puppies."
Dad:  What would that have to do with feet?
Gracie:  Maybe she could keep stepping on the puppies.
Isaac:  Maybe there could be a book where she meets someone with feet as big as hers.
Dad:  Didn't you write a story once, Gracie?  "Belinda Falls in Love"?
Gracie:  Yeah! Belinda met a guy with big feet and fell in love, and then this other girl was also in love with him too...
Dad:  You were going to give that to Mrs. Amy, but we never did.
Gracie: ...then I got too carried away from how normal Belinda stories go, and I made the other girl snatch Belinda up in a cage and almost feed her to a dragon.
Dad:  Ha ha ha!
Gracie:  So the guy dumps the other girl when he sees that.
Dad:  Alright, before we go, I have a true story for everyone.  I have to tell you my Belinda story!  When Gracie was little...
Gracie:  No.  No.
Dad:  Ha ha hey!  I am going to tell the story!
Gracie:  Nooo.
Dad:  When Gracie was maybe two years old...
Gracie:  Nooooo.
Dad: ...we saw Mrs. Amy and she gave us a Belinda doll... with bendy arms and legs...
Gracie:  Nooooooo!
Dad: ...bendy like Gumby.  We still have it.
Gracie:  I know.
Dad:  But what part is missing from that Belinda doll?
Gracie:  I chewed her hair off...
Dad: ...the little bun on top of the head.  You bit it off, which was bad enough.  But then what did you do with it?
Lily:  You ate it?!
Isaac:  No - she stuck it up her nose!
Gracie:  Hee hee ha ha ha hee hee....
Dad:  She stuck the little bun up her nose!  And it got stuck in there.  We couldn't get it out!
Lily:  Is it still there?
Dad:  We eventually did get it out.  We thought it was a really funny story, so we told Mrs. Amy.  But she looked mortified!  Before she was a children's book writer she had been a lawyer.  She knew we weren't upset, but I imagine the lawyer side of her mind must have been spinning, horrified.
Gracie:  I am embarrassed.
Isaac:  Hey, do we have all the Belinda books?
Dad:  No... we don't have "Belinda and the Glass Slipper" yet.
Isaac:  Isn't it the one with that mean girl.
Gracie:  Yeah - in that book they are doing a Cinderella show, and Belinda gets picked instead of another dancer who is mean and very young.  So she locks Belinda in the closet!
Dad:  I got to read that story when it was still just a draft... before it became a book.
Gracie:  That's my favorite one.
Lily:  That's my favorite one.
Dad:  Me too!  And it's the only one we don't have!  We'll have to go out and buy it and have Mrs. Amy sign it.
Gracie:  You know that bookstore we go to sometimes?  The Bookman?  I read it every time we go in there.
Dad:  We could either buy it and own it, or just keep visiting The Bookman over and over again.
Gracie:  Just buy it.
Dad:  That would probably make The Bookman happier, eh?
Gracie:  Besides, someone else might buy it before us if we just keep looking at it over and over.

Camille and Belinda, by Gracie

Belinda leaping over Lily, by Lily

Belinda meets Bigfoot, by Isaac

Author/Illustrator: Amy Young
Published, 2008: Viking
Like it? Find it


Stephanie said...

Cute review! Love the interview. I *think* we have read one of these books, but I'm going to double-check for my ballet-loving girls. :)

Unknown said...

That is SO funny. I can just imagine the conversation.

As always, great illustrations.

morninglight mama said...

I have a 3 year old with a current ballet obsession (where it came from, who knows!), so this may have to go on our library list!

Kelly H-Y said...

Sounds like a great book ... I suspect my daughter would LOVE it! Great illustrations!