Vintage Bookshelf :: Little Ballerina

When I was a little girl I was pretty darn shy. Most people find that hard to believe because I’m a pretty outgoing girlie (ask my family and they’ll say I’m a loud mouth, haha). BUT back in my shy-er days my mother put me in ballet lessons to help me come out of my shell. I LOVED dance class and recitals were totally thrilling. Satin and sequins? Yes please!

I had quite a few ballet themed books when I was little and one of my all time favorites was this one, by Dorothy Grider.

“Little Ballerina” is the story of a young girl namd Carol who has “weak legs”  (I think due to Polio). She can’t run and play with her friends so to strengthen her legs, she takes up ballet.

This sassy ballet teacher in her tunic and headband is fab.

I also totally love that the ballet class has some cool little guys taking dance. Check him out in his capri’s and stripey shirt!

I remember I looooooved her hair in these little circle braids. I went through a phase where I wore my hair like that—except I was 30 and not 10!

Carol ends up loving ballet and gets a starring role in the performance.

As a little girl I remember thinking, “I would DIE if I had to be the bumble bee!! I want to be a flower!”

Now as a grown up I have to say these little dudes are so cute! The story tells how “Jack Frost” leaps into the woodland scene and tries to freeze the flora.

Lovely Carol appears and charms Jack Frost and they dance off happily ever after!

This is EXACTLY what I looked like as a little girl. Well, in my mind I looked like this….

It was such a charming book. I loved all the costumes so much. Dorothy Grider wrote several other awesome books. I remember my cousin (yes, the one I made buy the Donny Osmond doll) had A Little Majorette which was also fab. It too involved a little girl who had weak legs—apparently a common theme with ol Dorothy. She also wrote, Little Swimmers, Little Horseman and Little Skaters. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I think each involved a little child who had “bad legs”.

32 thoughts on “Vintage Bookshelf :: Little Ballerina

  1. ZOMG! I LOVED that book! Alix–you are killing me with this! I totally forgot about the weak legs bit. That part about the weak legs is so bizarre and not really children’s book material, but still fabulous!

  2. omg alix! am currently making a list for my list project that’s all about the books I loved as a kid and ‘little majorette’ is totally on my list! still have it, by the way. 🙂 and man, if I’d known anything about the little ballerina book, I would have been aaaaaaall over it!


    1. YES!!!!!!! I’ve been keeping a list too…..I love you have the Little Majorette!! You’ll have to guest post some day (if you ever have time!) on your fave books!!! xoxo

  3. I totally HAVE this book…unfortunately my copy has some images cut out.
    I wanted to frame some of the uncut pages but neither of my girls were ballerina types (even though they BOTH dance…go figure…). I am do glad her legs got strong enough to bust out the lead!

  4. I just found my copy of this book yesterday, and read it to my 5 year old. She loves it just as much as I did when I was her age. I used to have it read to me every day, and loved the tutu’s!

  5. I have been looking for this book for years! Im 40 now and i loved this book when i was little. I couldnt remember the name though. It was awesome to be able to look through the book again. I ll persue getting my own vintage copy.

  6. I had Little Ballerina as a child and loved it. I thought the weakness in her legs was from an accident.
    Just one nitpick, The little dancer girl’s name was CAROL, not Cindy.
    BTW, I also had and loved LITTLE SWIMMERS(Mom got it for me as a gift when I started swimming lessons.) The swimmers of the title were a sis and bro (maybe twins) named Julie and Timothy, and as far as I recollect, their legs were just fine and they just wanted swimming lessons 🙂

        1. AHhh! That’s it! haha. (or your first comment is probably right….maybe Cindy Brady was on my brain!)

          I just saw a copy of The LIttle Majorette yesterday at my friends house. SO cute!

  7. I have this book, and it has such fond memories attached to it. My grandfather would read this to me every time I stayed at his house. It was one of my favorite books as a child!

  8. Miss Dottie just sent me over here from instagram. I loved this book so much. I checked it out from our BookMobile (library inside a bus for small library-less towns) over and over. I just got Little Swimmer in the mail today. Thank you for posting so many pictures! I love Love LOVE! this book. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you love that book too and I’m tickled pink you came and checked it out. Alix and I both loved that book so much! We are tickled pink it has another fan in you!

  9. This was one of my favorite books when I was little! The illustrations really stood out to me, and for some reason, I thought the idea of a yellow tutu was amazing! For years I couldn’t find this book. I never paid attention to the title when I was little. My sister finally found it online (at $45!!!) so I’ll have to save my pennies!

  10. OMG !! I LOVED this book when I was a little girl. I had the Giant edition. Now that I know the author/illustrator and the printer I’ll be scouring flea markets and thrift and antique stores.

  11. I loved this book as well. I am now 46 years old and own 2 copies of it that I bought online. I always thought maybe Carol had polio as it was the 1950’s and that is before the vaccine.

  12. My daughter (31 yr. old) just found mine from when I was 4, my 4 yr. old granddaughter is reading my book! Thrilled my daughter has kept it. It’s 52 years old and in good condition, too.

  13. I Loved this book! Had forgotten about it, but now makes me think of another book where there is a picture of a “dressing room” like this one but adult ballerinas are lacing up ballet slippers and the tutus a colorful and fabulous. It would have been from the same era, I cannot remember much more than that.

  14. I Loved this book! Had forgotten about it, but now makes me think of another book where there is a picture of a “dressing room” like this one but adult ballerinas are lacing up ballet slippers and the tutus a colorful and fabulous. It would have been from the same era, I cannot remember much more than that. Thanks so much

  15. I had the same books- ballerina and majorette- was OBSESSED with all the pretty pictures. Used to stare at them while reading in bed. And- same story- I was shy as a little girl and now no one believes me. I overcompensated and now I often talk too much. Great seeing those pictures!!!

  16. As a child from that era that was stuck in the house for a year due to rheumatic fever, I so related to this little girl with the weak legs. I had this book, but it got ruined, but the pictures and story have stuck with me all these years. Never got to take ballet lessons, though.

  17. Weak legs are definitely an appropriate subject for children’s books at that time. Polio was a constant reality. Summer was polio season when children were forbidden to go swimming, or even go outside to play. There is probably no one of my generation who did not have at least one classmate in braces. Lots of children who had been mildly stricken had dance recommended for physical therapy.
    Pam, could your book have been The How and Why Wonder Book of Ballet?
    And I agree, young fellows took ballet at that time. I was never told it was a sissy thing, only that boys don’t dance en pointe. Oh yeah? I found out recently some guys do!

  18. I was so thrilled to find this book. It was a favorite when I was little and started me on a lifelong love of ballet. I’ve been trying to find it for years. I finally googled children’s book ballet polio and it came up. I just ordered a copy for myself

  19. I still remember the first page and what it said- Carol and her dog Cindy watched the children playing outside. Carol wanted to play with them, but she could not because her legs were weak. It made her tired to run and play like the other boys and girls. ( I can remember more to this story). Made quite an impact on me. I am now 63 yrs old.!!

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