The Little Dancers: Showtime

Written by Maryann Macdonald
Illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe 

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

(Ages 3 -7)

The little dancers are ready to shine on stage! Miss Amy’s ballet studio is putting on a show called The Butterfly Ball. Rosa and her four friends rehearse leaping, balancing and twirling to perfect their dances for the recital. Who will be chosen to be a butterfly? And who will not?

A picture book about friendship, self-esteem and the magic of dance. (Ages 3-7)


The story is told in present tense, with expressive verbs that evoke movement, and brief sentences that occasionally dip and float across pages. The illustrations effectively capture expressive nuances, and the end pages are filled with detailed drawings. The other dancers, including a boy, are appealing and supportive, and readers will appreciate this tale of friendship, whether they’re wannabe prima ballerinas or not.


Five little children sparkle at their dance-class recital.
When their teacher announces that the class will perform at “the Butterfly Ball,” the four girls and one boy are all excited—except for Rosa, who is the youngest and who has had “less practice.” The others are extremely helpful to her, and all work diligently on their whirling and twirling and balancing. When the roles are assigned, Rosa is upset because she will be a glowworm—not a butterfly. Ollie, the one boy in the group, teases her, but she is reassured by the teacher that it is a very important part. Over a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, Grandma shares a story from her childhood that makes Rosa laugh and feel so much better. A gift of a glowworm from one of her fellow dancers adds to her happiness. The recital is perfect, and Rosa, the glowworm “steals the show.” Macdonald’s little story is filled to the brim with camaraderie, albeit laced with a small amount of teasing. Practice and cooperation are as important as actual dancing ability. Sutcliffe’s hand-drawn and digitally colored illustrations are adequate to the text. Rosa presents white, as does one other girl; Ollie and the other two girls are children of color. 


A reader says:
A great book about teamwork and the power of “we”
This book is so beautiful and sweet! It has strong messages about teamwork and kindness, which are so important for young readers.  

Adina O.