Dance with me by Penny Harrison

cover image

Ill. by Gwynneth Jones. EK Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925335231
The ballerina lived in a little wooden box and every day she stood straight and tall and danced for the little girl who would laugh and clap her hands and dance like the ballerina herself. But as the years passed, the little girl grew up and the ballerina danced for her less and less, until, eventually, she danced no longer.
So one day she jumped down from her box, skipped out the windowsill to find a new dance partner. But the bee in the flowers was too busy; the turtle on the seashore wasn't a dancer; and the leopard on the island wanted her for his lunch! So the ballerina hurried home to her box and danced one last time for the little girl. But sadly, it was not enough and the lid was closed and the box stored away for many years. Until one day another little girl opened the lid...
This is a poignant story about growing up and the treasured keepsakes we grow beyond as we do so. For while it is the story of the ballerina wanting to do what she loves, it is also the story of those things that we always think of when we think of our childhood and which we know we will pass on to our own children in the hope they will get similar joy. Gwynneth Jones's illustrations are charming - gentle pastels while the ballerina is happy dancing for the girl and a bolder palette as she gets bolder - and feed right into the vision we have when we think about musical boxes with their magic tucked inside.
A great opportunity to talk about memories with our children as well as what they love enough to want to keep for their children, creating bonds across generations.
Barbara Braxton