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THE LAST DANCE by Carmen Agra Deedy


by Carmen Agra Deedy & illustrated by Debrah Santini

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56145-109-6
Publisher: Peachtree

 A complex, pretty story--about dancing and death--whose text and illustrations are stitched together from different fragments; poetic snatches of narrative are woven together like a series of dreams. Bessie remembers Ninny: As children, he threw buttons at her window and they would go dance on his grandfather's grave; he went off to war and returns; they have children and grow old. Now alone, Bessie dances on Ninny's grave. Deedy (The Library Dragon, 1994, etc.) pens a text that is sometimes sentimental, occasionally hard to follow, but has many resonant moments; Ninny, only glimpsed, comes across as a profound and charismatic figure. In pale, semitransparent watercolors, everything swirls and flows, as if caught in the middle of a dance; images overlap and collapse years into one spread, e.g., Bessie and Ninny dancing as children, then as young adults, and finally, at their wedding. Some of the pictures and text are imaginatively framed in swatches of fabric, stitched around the edges, and scattered with buttons. Children may have difficulty with the calligraphic typeface, making this a book more appropriate for sharing than solos. (Picture book. 8-12)