It’s wonderfully inclusive, but only Bowie’s biggest fans may feel like dancing.

LET'S DANCE

Dancers of various ages, races, abilities, and species groove to the abridged lyrics of iconic rocker Bowie’s titular 1983 hit.

“Let’s dance,” the author invites. And dance Marks’ joyful, cartoony figures do. A child and older adult jive to “the song they’re playin’ on” an old-fashioned radio; another child “sway[s] through” a playground crowd “to an empty space.” A dog and cat join paws/hands with a child in a hijab. Under “this serious moonlight,” a couple and a cat float in spacesuits. Two kids dance in manual wheelchairs; one is an amputee. After omitting much of the last verse, the ending urges, “Let’s dance, / DANCE, / DANCE.” Characters’ skin colors range from pale to dark. However, despite diverse characters and bright, textured digital illustrations, the song’s translation to picture book falls flat. Without the melody, the lyrics’ rhythm falters, and such lines as “If you should fall into my arms / And tremble like A FLOWER” ring awkward. Some illustrations seem incongruous with their lyrics, as when a double-page file of cheerleading kids wearing itty-bitty red sneakers illustrates “Put on your red shoes / And dance the blues.” Though adult fans will appreciate nods to Bowie’s eclectic style—lightning bolts pepper the pages, and a child’s shirt is reminiscent of his Union Jack–patterned coat—such touches will be lost on readers unfamiliar with Bowie’s oeuvre.

It’s wonderfully inclusive, but only Bowie’s biggest fans may feel like dancing. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6808-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits.

BOATS WILL FLOAT

Many types of working and pleasure craft are depicted in this humorous, straightforward picture book.

Curzon’s vibrantly colored illustrations bubble with plenty of detail, enough to help children recognize different boat types they may encounter on a trip to the ocean or harbor. The storyline progresses more or less through the day in different marine locations, from early morning, when fishing boats are starting out and dragon boats are “flying by,” to a gentle nighttime sailing scene. The view changes as the boats change, cycling through rolling waves, a festive beach tableau, underwater scenes as studied by divers from a research vessel and the crew of a submarine before culminating in the family depicted in the opening illustration, going to bed in their houseboat. This family is white; the crews of the various boats include some people of color. Rosenbaum’s text consists of easy, rolling rhymes, with plenty of descriptive language to conjure up the scene: “Sunlight sizzles, hot and bright”; boats “rise and fall in liquid motion”; Salty breezes. / Seagulls squalling.” There’s plenty of engaging visual detail, including a spread in which the signal flag alphabet is shown and the flags on two boats spell out the book’s title.

A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits. (picture glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-041-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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