Written and Illustrated by:Peter Sis

Before Reading

Explore and Discover

Take a moment to look over the cover and illustrations throughout the book. Ask
your child questions about the illustrations, or ask and answer them yourself for very little ones.

What do you see on the cover? (I see...)

This book is called "Ballerina!" What do ballerinas do? Ballerinas like to dance!

How many ballerinas can we see? Let's count! 1,2,3...

For older children, ask, "Have you ever seen a ballerina? Did you like watching him/her dance? Why/why not?"

As You Read

Build Language

As you go along, point out the different elements in the illustrations and give them all names. Make observations about her room like the posters of the dancing frog, the ballet shoes tied to her bed post, or the windup ballerina on her dresser. Say things like, "Wow, Terry really does love ballet. Look at all of the ballet things that she has in her room!" Ask your child to point to some of these elements on his/her own, allowing him/her to engage with the book and actively participate in the reading. 

Point Out Colors

Identify colors before reading a page by saying things like "What color is Terry's dress in this picture? Can you tell me what color Terry's hat is?" Whether you are answering the questions yourself or your child is answering them, be sure to repeat phrases to your child like, "That's right! She is wearing a blue dress. The woman in the mirror is wearing a blue dress too! See, they are matching!" If you or your child is wearing any of the colors that you come across in the story, be sure to point that out as well!


Monitor Comprehension

This story is all about dance and movement, so incorporate movement into your storytelling! For example, as you read about Terry's warm up, say something like, "Dancers warm up so that they don't hurt themselves and so they can get ready to dance. Can we stretch like Terry? Let's reach really high! Can we touch our toes?" Also, ask about things that your child might already be familiar with that are mentioned in the story. For example, when Terry dances the Cinderella ballet, ask, "Do you know the story of Cinderella? What happens in that story? It's the story of a girl..."

After Reading

Make Connections

For younger children, simply flip back through the book and point at some of the illustrations you liked best. Model post-reading behaviors for future readers! For older children, gauge your child’s comprehension and processing of the story by asking them about what happened in the book.

Did you like that story? 

What did the little girl in the story like to do?

Terry wore lots of costumes because she was pretending to do different dances. Which costume was your favorite (flip through the book to find it)? What color is this costume?

How many costumes did Terry wear all together? Let's go back and count!

Extending the Story


Your child probably loves bouncing and dancing to music, so help foster that love for dance by trying some of these activities! If you are trying to teach your child a little ballet, try out some of these toddler stretches, steps, and a few simple ballet positions! There are some great ideas for fun ways to start getting your child moving like pretending to be a hopping frog or a baby kangaroo.


A Look at Child Development

Babies aren't just learning vocabulary, rhythm, rhymes and melody when they listen to music, but they are also learning important lessons about social interactions as well! Whether it's singing a song together, dancing together, or simply making different beats together using pots or other objects, your child learns about sharing, team work, and creativity. Learn more about the benefits of music and how you can use it to interact with your child in your day to day lives.