Angelina Ballerina Loves the Library: Ready-to-Read Level 1

Simon Spotlight/S. & S./. (Angelina Ballerina). Dec. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534498211; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781534498204.
K-Gr 2–Angelina returns with the seventh in a series of early readers based on the original picture books. The ballet-obsessed mouse can’t wait to check out “more and more” books when she visits the Chipping Cheddar library, but the librarian explains that she can only borrow five at a time. After making her selection, Angelina returns home to share the bounty with delighted friends and family. Then she’s back to the library for a second round! Despite the book’s being described as a “level one reader,” newly minted readers may have a hard time navigating overly wordy sentences containing few contextual clues and some hard-to-decode, three-syllable words. The plot lacks zip, but interesting details abound in the delicate and familiar ink and watercolor style illustrations of a quaint English village populated by adorable mice. The updated story still adheres completely to the traditional gender roles of the original, with Angelina’s mom in the kitchen, dad in a comfortable chair reading the newspaper, and a female ballet teacher and librarian.
VERDICT Nostalgic fans may jump at the opportunity to introduce new readers to the denizens of Chipping Cheddar, but the story’s structure presents some challenges. For those in need of an Angelina fix, recommend the originals instead.

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