In the second post about my festive loft treasures, I’d like to share a book from a series that my sister and I used to absolutely adore when we were younger. This makes sense for her, as the Angelina Ballerina books are about a little mouse who loves ballet. My mum used to call my sister ‘Little Mouse’ and my sister has a not inconsiderable amount of dancing talent. It makes less sense for me, as I was more celebrated for my ability to read a book under my covers for hours without being discovered. I also look like a guinea pig on a sugar high when I attempt to throw shapes.
Anyhoo, we loved the Angelina books and this was one was a particular favourite, not only for its Christmas theme but also for the beautiful wintery illustrations. The pale shades seem to perfectly suit the gentle tale – Angelina’s excitement about her Christmas dance show, which is then tempered when she realises that Mr Bell, the postman, is going to be lonely over Christmas.
Needless to say, she works out a way to include Mr Bell in the festivities and also invites him to her show, where she dances as a sugar plum fairy in the Nutcracker Suite. Never one to to whom coolness and stred cred came naturally, the first ever tape I bought with my own money was not Kylie or Jason or some other equally streetwise pop act (though they did come soon after) but a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Clearly this book had a greater impression on me than I’d realised…
One of the reasons I like this story now I’m older is for the message it sends is about Christmas being a time to think about others more than ourselves and about how for some people, the festive season is miserable and unwelcoming and not as glee-filled as all the adverts pronounce. The boys and I will be keeping our eyes peeled for any ‘Mr Bells’ this year, to see if we can take the time to make their Christmas a little cheerier. Thanks, Angelina.