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Persistent Paulina - adjectives, synonyms & idioms explained in a story of determination

Enjoy the story of determined little ballerina who learns a valuable lesson.

Season 2, episode 1
16 min / Published

Anyone can realize their dreams and become who they were meant to be.

Discover the importance of friendship and accepting who you are.

Language focus: Idioms, adjectives & synonyms

Show notes

Persistent Paulina

Focus vocabulary:

Persistent adjective (continues doing something or tries to do something in a determined way)

Awkward adjective referring to a person (clumsy, uncoordinated, graceless)

Awkward adjective referring to a situation (Uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing situation)

Focus grammar:

Turn her frown upside down idiom (To become happy after being sad.)

Made or make fun of idiom (tease or make jokes about.)

If there was one thing Paulina wanted to do, it is dance. Not just any type of dancing mind you, Paulina wanted to be a ballerina. She dreamt of this since she was a baby and her desire to become a professional dancer was overwhelming.

There was just one small problem… she had extremely short legs, which made dancing, and especially ballet dancing extremely challenging. If her short legs were the only difficulty she faced, that would have been fine, however this was not the case. Ballet dancers are tall, lean and agile to be able to move graciously as they twirl and sway. Paulina on the other hand was short, plump and slightly awkward.

The chances of realizing her dream was slim for young Paulina, but this did not deter her from her goal of becoming a ballet dancer one bit. She practiced every day, twice or three times longer than the other dancers did. She watched every YouTube and TikTok video she could find to refine her routine. The other kids laughed and made fun of how she moved and struggled. However, this made Paulina even more steadfast to succeed.

Her parents tried to suggest other activities for her do pursue, as they could see how hurt poor Paulina was at all the teasing. She refused and remained tenacious in her mission for ballerina stardom. It wasn’t until her instructor had a talk with Paulina that our little hero decided it was time to move on. “You’re simply not suited to be a ballerina, Paulina,” Miss Davis had said to her one day. So, she left, went home and cried herself to sleep.

This went on for weeks and nothing could cheer her up. She did not eat, never smiled anymore and lay on her bed all day long. One evening late, things changed. There was knock at the door, who could it be at this hour? In the doorway stood Roxy who lived three houses down. She asked to speak to Paulina as she had some news that could turn her frown upside down. She grabbed a carrot from the fridge, bounced up the stairs to Paulina’s room and immediately started to talk. The sad, little girl did not feel like listening, but the more Roxy spoke, the more Pauline began to smile, even laughing out loud.

See Roxy was part of a modern dance studio on the other side of town. At this dance school everyone and anyone was welcome. There was no time to waste, are you in or out, Roxy wanted to know? “Oh, I am most definitely in,” Paulina said with a smile as wide as a mile. The next morning was Saturday and Roxy came jumping down the road. Paulina was already waiting outside ready to go and happily joined Roxy on her way to the studio. Once Paulina got there, she felt instantly at ease – suddenly she was not the shortest, plumpest or most awkward dancer in the room. Not that it mattered anyway because nobody made fun of anyone – everyone was there to dance and be merry.

Roxy took one last bite of the lettuce in her lunchbox and fluffed out her tail. Paulina smiled at her new, silly friend and grabbed Roxy’s furry arm very tight. Together they walked to the dancefloor excited and delighted. Instantly, kind faces, warm smiles and heartfelt hugs welcomed them. A girl called Sally rushed over to say hi and complimented Paulina’s tutu, right behind her were two more dancers, Bernadette and Melanie.

The teacher called everyone together and welcomed Paulina as a new member. “There was only one rule”, Miss Hillary said, “Have fun and dance like nobody’s watching”. It was in that moment that Paulina the Pig knew that Roxy the Rabbit came into her life at just the right time. She had found her special place. Gone were the nervousness and worries, replaced by happiness and joy. Pauline danced the night away with Bernadette the Beaver, Melanie the Mouse, Harriet the Hamster and Sally the Squirrel – none of who looked like dancers, but danced very well in their own special way.


What clues did I give that Roxy might not be a person, but an animal?

We learnt the new word “persistent”; there are two synonyms (or words that mean the same) in the story. Can you tell me which ones they are?


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