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READING AND WRITING

Home  >  Reading and Writing  >  Featured Writers
Amy Meissner  -  Violet and the Rotten Ballerinas
By Amy Meissner « Prev   Page 4 of 6   Next »

Violet had everything she needed to be a ballerina. She had a special matching leotard and tutu. She had pink toe shoes that tied around her ankles and ballet class everyday after school with other girls who wanted to be ballerinas.

"Oh honey," her mother said each time she pinned Violet’s curls into a tight bun, "when I was a little girl, I just loved my ballet classes!"

It was true. In fact, it seemed that everyone in Violet’s family loved ballet. On the walls hung photographs and newspaper clippings of Violet’s mother, her cousins, her aunts, and even her grandmother. All of them had all been ballerinas.

Her mother talked and talked about how much fun they’d all had.

Violet did not like to talk about ballet.

Violet and the Rotten Ballerinas

Violet did not like to squeeze into her stretchy pink leotard. She did not like to wear her scratchy tutu or her pinching toe shoes that tied around her ankles. And she definitely DID NOT like to go to ballet class everyday with a bunch of rotten ballerinas who snickered and whispered behind her back when they watched her practice.

She was not very good at ballet. Her leaps flopped. Her pirouettes made her woozy. In fact, just the thought of ballet class made her feel sick to her stomach. Especially when she thought about that priss Missy Montclaire, the ballerina leader.

"Violet, you look like a turnip in that tutu," Missy chanted everyday. All of the rotten ballerinas laughed.

Violet did not want to be a ballerina at all.

What Violet really wanted was to draw very fast cars -- every kind of car. Red cars. Blue cars. Double-decker cars. Cars with wings. Cars driving backwards or sideways. Cars with drivers. Cars with no drivers. And all of them driving very, very fast.

She kept her drawings hidden in her ballet bag. This was her secret and not something that proper ballerinas did, you know.

One day, Violet was running for ballet class when she tripped and fell in front of the rotten ballerinas. As her ballet bag slid across the floor, the zipper opened and out tumbled her pink tutu and all of her secret drawings.

"Hey! Look at these stupid pictures!" squealed Missy Montclaire, as she grabbed Violet’s drawings and held them high in the air. "Hey Turnip, did your brother draw these dumb cars?"

All of the ballerinas laughed.

"Maybe her boyfriend drew them!" Someone giggled and the rest of the rotten ballerinas joined in.

Violet leapt and grabbed for her drawings, "Give them back!" Her eyes filled with tears.The ballet teacher clapped sharply. Missy Montclaire threw the papers onto the floor and all of the ballerinas stomped on them with their toe shoes before skipping off to begin their class.

Violet did not practice ballet that evening. She told the teacher that she was sick and hid in the bathroom until 5:00 when her mother came to fetch her.

The next day at school, Violet ignored Missy Montclaire and the other ballerinas when they sang in the hallway.

"Violet has a boyfriend!"

"Violet draws dumb cars!"

"You’ll never be a ballerina," Missy hissed as Violet passed by them.

Violet took a deep breath and walked straight into the classroom. Her lip quivered as she struggled not to cry.

"Alright class, let’s settle down!" said their teacher, passing out sheets of paper and colored markers. "The school is holding its annual poster contest, and this year the theme is ‘Safety’."

Violet stopped listening. She was watching the snickering ballerinas draw on their paper. When the teacher wasn’t looking, they held up an ugly picture of Violet and burst into a fit of giggles.

Violet stared at her own paper. She was so angry. She picked up a bright red marker and started to draw.

She drew the fastest red car ever. She pushed harder and harder with her pen and the car went faster and faster on the paper. She drew the ballerinas in their pink tutus running from the car with their hands in the air…

"Why, Violet!" her teacher exclaimed.

Violet slid low into her chair. Now she was in trouble, for sure.

"This is just wonderful! What a wonderful way to show that you should look both ways before crossing the street!" She held the poster up in front of the class. Violet was surprised, but no one was more surprised than the ballerinas who saw that they were in the picture too. Missy Montclaire went pale at the thought of the fast red car speeding towards her.

When Violet won the school poster contest that week, she brought home a big blue ribbon to show to her parents.

"Maybe we should enroll Violet in an art class once a week," her father suggested, admiring the winning artwork.

"Oh, but dear, what about her ballet classes?" Her mother argued, biting her lip.

"Maybe we should ask Violet which she would rather do." He looked at Violet busily drawing a speeding purple hot rod with flames shooting from the tail pipes.

The very next week, Violet had everything she needed to be an artist. She carried paper and colorful pens and pencils in her old ballet bag. She had a white smock to wear over her clothes and a drawing class every week filled with other boys and girls who wanted to be artists too.

And best of all, nobody laughed at her, or pointed and giggled, or made fun.

Well, sometimes they made fun of the rotten ballerinas.

Story and illustration are © 2001, by Amy Meissner, all rights reserved.

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