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Cover image for Brontorina
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2010.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Added Author:
Despite her size and not having the proper footwear, a determined dinosaur pursues her dream of becoming a ballerina.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY HOW 1 1
Book EASY HOW 1 1
Book EASY HOW 0 1

On Order



From the sure-footed duo of James Howe and Randy Cecil comes a hugely endearing new character - in a humorous, heart-warming tale about holding on to your dreams. (Ages 4-8)Brontorina has a dream. She wants to dance. But Brontorina is rather large - too large to fit in Madame Lucille's dance studio. Brontorina does not have the right shoes, and everyone knows you can't dance without the proper footwear. Still, Brontorina knows, deep in her heart, that she is meant to be a ballerina. James Howe introduces a lovable dinosaur whose size is outmatched only by her determination, and whose talent is outmatched only by her charm. Accompanied by Randy Cecil's beguiling illustrations, here is an irresistible story that proves that no problem is too big when the heart and imagination know no bounds.

Author Notes

James Howe was born in Oneida, New York on August 2, 1946. He attended Boston University and majored in theater. Before becoming a full-time author, he worked as a literary agent. His first book, Bunnicula, was published in 1979. It won several awards including the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and the Nene Award. He is the author of more than 90 books for young readers including the Bunnicula series, the Bunnicula and Friends series, the Tales from the House of Bunnicula series, Pinky and Rex series, and the Sebastian Barth Mystery series. His other works include The Hospital Book , A Night Without Stars, Dew Drop Dead, The Watcher, The Misfits, Totally Joe, Addie on the Inside, and Also Known As Elvis.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Howe (Bunnicula) pens a humorous and inspiring tale about a big dinosaur with a big dream: "[I]n my heart," Brontorina says, "I am a ballerina." Thoughtful, white-haired instructor Madame Lucille is willing to give it a try. A rocky transition period (the studio's ceiling takes a lot of punishment) is at last resolved when Madame Lucille moves her classes outdoors, with the promise that Brontorina's struggle will open up the world of ballet to still more candidates-the studio's new sign reads, "Madame Lucille's Outdoor Dance Academy for Girls and Boys and Dinosaurs and Cows." The final page shows a triceratops holding Brontorina high, a silent retort to Madame Lucille's earlier despairing wail: "And how in the world will a male dancer ever lift you over his head?" Cecil (Gator) contributes oil paintings whose simple forms are balanced by sophisticated textures and restrained colors, while he has fun punching up the contrast between the massive Brontorina and her tiny classmates. Meanwhile, asides from the kids provide a string of giggles. It's a satisfying story that adheres closely to its central message about overcoming obstacles. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Brontorina Apatosaurus is a dinosaur, "but in my heart I am a ballerina." The children encourage Madame Lucille to let Brontorina join their class, but chaos ensues because the studio is too small. When an outdoor locale is found, Brontorina realizes her dream. This tall tale is supported by expansive oil illustrations that capture the movement and humor of the conceit. Copyright 2010 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Initially turned away from Madame Lucille's Dance Academy for Boys and Girls because she is an enormous dinosaur, Brontorina counters, But in my heart I am a ballerina. Moved by Brontorina's dream, Madame Lucille welcomes her to the class with a request that she not squash the other dancers. Soon her relevés and jetés leave dents and grooves in the ceiling, but if she suffers for her art, she never complains. When Brontorina's size limits her horizons, Madame Lucille changes her own assumptions (as well as her studio). Her broad-minded approach opens up a range of new possibilities. Text and illustrations work beautifully together in this witty fantasy. Though in lesser hands the plot might have seemed tired, here speech balloons alternate with narration to tell the story in a fresh, droll manner. In Cecil's arresting oil paintings, the tawny orange dinosaur stands out boldly against slate blue or white backgrounds, and the unusual texture of the paint creates a distinctive effect. Brontorina makes a hugely sympathetic heroine as pictured here, and the stylized figures of her teacher and classmates are no less appealing. With an amusing text and pictures that show up well from a distance, this hopeful picture book is great for reading aloud.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Howe weaves a well-spun tale about acceptance and pursuing one's dream. When Brontorina Apatosaurus appears at the door of Madame Lucille's Dance Academy for Boys and Girls, she faces what could be sure rejection. Young Clara and Jack tug at Madame to accept her, while naysayers jeer at her lack of proper shoes. Finally, Madame admits Brontorina, and humorous scenes show little boys and girls doing arabesques, releves, and jetes, while enormous Brontorina gracefully crashes into the ceiling. Madame concludes that the new pupil is just too big. Brontorina turns to leave, a dinosaur-size tear falling from her eye. Then the teacher has a realization: "The problem is not that you are too big. The problem is that my studio is too small," and the academy gets relocated and renamed. A quiet fusion of pathos, comedy, and passion is echoed in the painterly, softly textured, muted oil illustrations. The final picture of the orange dinosaur perched like a bird atop a dancing triceratops, silhouetted against the setting sun, is priceless.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Brontorina is a rotund, orange Apatosaurus who dreams of being a ballerina, so she presents herself at Madame Lucille's Dance Academy: "[I]n my heart I am a ballerina." Despite Brontorina's size and lack of ballet shoes, Madame Lucille decides to teach her along with the other, human students. As practice begins, Madame's main directive to Brontorina is, "Please try not to squash the other dancers." Here's where Cecil's spare oil artwork illuminates, in creamy hues, the relatively diminutive children dancing with the enormous Brontorina as she plis and twirls, wreaking havoc. It soon becomes evident that lessons at the studio are, at the very least, difficult. Brontorina, spilling giant tears, resigns herself to leaving. But there is a big surprise in store, and Madame Lucille gets a fresh perspective. The frankly funny illustrations complement Howe's understated text, resulting in a sweet, frothy story, complete with tutus and arabesques, for the little (and big) dreamer in everyone, lightheartedly demonstrating that the sky's the limit, so think big! (Picture book. 2-7)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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