A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Itâ€™s the birth date of John Hancock (1737â€“1793), signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the first governor of Massachusetts. On a related note, itâ€™s National Handwriting Day.
- Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. in 1849, by the Medical Institute of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States' first female doctor. Read Doctor Meowâ€™s Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd.
- One this day in1973 President Richard Nixon announces a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam. Read Vietnam: A Travelerâ€™s Literary Companion edited by John Balaban and Nguyen Qui Duc.
- Itâ€™s National Pie Day. Read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.
Today we celebrate Measure Your Feet Day. But why?
Well, one reason youngsters might measure their feet would be for special shoes, say ballet shoes. Since this also happens to be the birthday of Katharine Holabird, author of Angelina Ballerina, our book of the day features a very special mouse, Angelina, who loves to dance. Published in 1983 and now a classic, Angelina Ballerina presents a mouse heroine. Angelina doesnâ€™t want to straighten her room or get ready for schoolâ€”she only wants to dance. So she dances her way to school and lands in a pansy patch. Angelina canâ€™t stop dancing. She twirls on the playground; she even executes a beautiful arabesque in the kitchen. Driven to exasperation, her mother Mrs. Mouseling buys pink ballet slippers and sends Angelina off to Miss Lilyâ€™s Ballet School.
Katharine Holabirdâ€™s text presents this sequence lightly and with a touch of humor. But in the Angelina books, illustrator Helen Craig often steals the show. Her enchanting drawings show this winsome mouse prancing around, and when Angelina attends Miss Lillyâ€™s Ballet Studio, Craig pulls out all the stops and shows grand scenes of mouse ballerinas together. Her artwork is animated and vitalâ€”she delineates character and expression with just the lightest of touch. Full of movement and life, the artwork pulls the readers eye across the page, onto the next spread.
With the best of all outcomes, Angelina becomes a famous ballerinaâ€”living out the dream of her childhood. These anthropomorphic mice represent the feelings and behavior of children. All of Angelinaâ€™s behavior accurately reflects the dreams and actions of many four to eight year olds.
Angelina Ballerina begins a series that became very popular with young readers. These books feature Angelina engaged in a variety of activities that might be experienced by any child: going to a fair (Angelina at to the Fair), getting a bike (Angelinaâ€™s Birthday Surprise), or ice skating (Angelina Ice Skates). She even participated in a royal wedding in 2010 (Angelina and the Royal Wedding). But the original book still makes the best introduction to Angelina. Like a great performance, you can return to it again and again.
A standing ovation to Katharine Holabird on her birthday and Helen Craig on Measure Your Feet Day. I myself may not measure my feet. But I will reread this gem one more time.
Hereâ€™s a page from Angelina Ballerina:
Originally posted January 23, 2011. Updated for .