Written By: James Howe

Illustrated By: Randy Cecil

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take time to look over the cover and illustrations throughout the book. Ask your child questions that will encourage him/her to make predictions about the story you are about to read. These questions may include:

What do you think will happen in this story?

What is Brontorina doing on the cover? What kind of dancing are they doing?

How is Brontorina different from the rest of the students in the dance class?

{Flip to a certain page} What do you think is happening in this picture?

Do you think it is easy or hard for Brontorina to dance with the rest of the class? Why?

This story is all about a love for dance so start your read-through by asking your child about dancing. Ask, “Do you like to dance? What is your favorite kind of dance? What about your favorite dance move? What is your favorite song to dance to?” You can also include your favorite dance moves or songs to dance to by saying, “I love to dance! My favorite dance move looks like this.” And if you’re feeling the groove, get up and dance it out before diving into the book!

As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

Whenever your child comes to a new word in the story, encourage him/her to stop and discover its meaning using the words and illustrations around it. More specifically, there are several ballet terms that your child may not be familiar with so you can look at the illustrations of Brontorina and the other students to determine what those dance terms mean. Examples of new words in Brontorina include:




Making Connections:

Connecting the story to your child’s own experiences is a great way to make the story more relate-able and engaging. Ask your child if an event in the story reminds them of something that has happened in his/her own life. For example, when Brontorina tells Madame Lucille that she wants to be a ballerina and the students say that she can’t because she is too big, ask your child, “Can you think of a time when you wanted to do something that you liked to do but someone said that you couldn’t? How did you feel? What did you do? What do you think Brontorina will do?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask your child these questions to assess their comprehension of the story you have just read together:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Why didn’t the students in Madame Lucille’s class think Brontorina could join their class?

When Brontorina was about to leave the dance class, what made her stay and keep dancing?

How did Madame Lucille and her class help Brontorina so she could keep dancing with them?

What happened at the end of the story? Did you like this ending?

Brontorina epitomizes the challenges and ultimately the triumphs that accompany being different. Emphasize this message by asking your child, “What would have happened if Brontorina had listened to the other dancers and stopped dancing? Why is it good that she kept on dancing? How did the class and teacher think differently to help encourage Brontorina’s passion for dance?”

Activity: Musical Hearts

Adapted from No Time for Flashcards

Supplies: Any kind of music, foam paper, scissors, and markers.

Get your kids moving with this fun and easy activity that combines musical chairs with fun tasks that your child will love!


Cut out 10-15 large hearts from the foam sheets. Then, write out different tasks for your child to complete when they land on that heart. You can choose physical tasks like jumping on one foot, crab walking, doing 5 pushups, etc. You can also include things like singing the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Lay out the hearts face down on the floor in a circle. When your child is ready, start the music and play! Let your child dance from heart to heart and when the music stops, have your child perform the task that is written on the heart that they are standing on!

This activity is sure to provide loads of fun for both you and your youngster so turn up the music and let the games begin!