HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Nina, Nina, Star Ballerina
Author: Jane O’Connor
Illustrator: DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap, 1997
ISBN-13: 978-0613017435 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0613017439 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0448414928 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0448414929 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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O’Connor Jane. Nina, Nina, Star Ballerina (published in 1997 by Grosset and Dunlap). In this early reader from the All Aboard Reading Series, Nina is playing a star in an upcoming ballet performance of Night Sky at the class dance show dancing with other girls as stars around Eric, who plays the moon. So she happily tells her best friend Ann about her part in the show. However she finds herself in an awkward situation when she hears hear Ann passing on the news that Nina will be the star and all her friends think that she is “the star of the show.” Reluctant to speak up at first, she is so troubled by the thought of discovery that she feigns a sore leg to avoid performance. However, she realizes that she has to set the record straight and make things right once more.
We checked this book out of the library to give our older son Mark extra practice when he was learning how to read. Author Jane O’Connor, writing with simplicity and directness, focuses on feelings that beginning readers will recognize as she describes Nina’s problem and the emotional and practical results of its resolution. At first, Nina allows her friends to think she’s the star because she likes the attention. Then when there is the possibility that one of her friends will attend the performance, she is too embarrassed or afraid to tell the truth. Illustrator DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan’s sensitive drawings with watercolor washes enhance the book’s appeal. Nina was first introduced in Nina, Nina Ballerina. There is also another sequel, Nina, Nina, and the Copycat Ballerina. Another All Aboard Reading book by O’Connor that we used was Kate Skates.