Silhouette artist Rice offers another imaginative tale using his intricate cut-paper designs.
The creator of Mama, Let’s Make a Moon (2013) invites children to “dance like there are ants in your pants” in a rollicking tall tale. The narrator, a barefoot child with braided pigtails that sometimes stand on end in surprise, uses rhythm and rhyme to tell the story of an uncle who discovers a talent for dancing after stepping in a bed of ants. Playful language sets the scene: “Ants ’n’ uncles, uncles ’n’ ants / dancin’ the world with ants in his pants. / Goin’ where he’s / never been before on / his un-ant-ticipated / world tour.” The lively, poster-style illustrations accompany the uncle as he limbos, pirouettes, moonwalks, and tangos to fame through the world’s big cities, sending home postcards as he goes. Vivid colors pop off the pages as Uncle Bob goes from dancing in a spotlight to balancing atop the Eiffel Tower, with dancing ants alongside him. Unfortunately, Rice depicts Uncle Bob with exaggeratedly large, bare feet throughout, and several of the silhouettes also give him pendulous lips. The nature of the media means they are not detailed enough to keep readers from associating many of these images with minstrelsy.
A lively introduction to distant places with some deeply unfortunate visuals. (Picture book. 4-7)