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by David Martin ; illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

Pub Date: June 15th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5362-0918-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A bebopping bear inspires other woodland critters to join him.

Bear dances rhythmically along a forest path, “kicking feet, bending knees” while “stepping high, stepping low, / stepping fast, stepping slow,” until he encounters Moose. Admiring Bear’s smooth moves, the “loose as a goose” Moose proceeds to demonstrate his own high, low, fast, slow “galumphing” steps. Then Snake appears, performing unique slithery moves, “wiggling high,” low, fast, and slow. The syncopating trio soon attracts Deer, who jumps in and begins “leaping high, leaping low, / leaping fast, leaping slow.” Surprisingly, Owl silently swoops over this jiving, swinging procession, performing aerial feats high, low, fast, and slow, followed by Baby Mouse, who eagerly shows off “skipping” moves. Eventually, Mouse’s friends join the hilarious dance party, moving in a circle and proving “the more the merrier.” The infectious beat of the rhyming text and repetition of phrases like, “I’m not like you, / So I’ll just do what I can do,” sets up an energetic, predictable pattern ideal for reading aloud. Set against a bucolic, impressionistic woodland background, the loosely rendered, amusing, dynamic illustrations echo this pattern as the creatures (despite the seeming limitations of their various physiques) perform signature interpretive dances with inspired, fluid, free-spirited abandon across double-page spreads until they all collapse in a merry heap.

Joyous, upbeat, toe-tapping, hip-swinging, high-stepping fun.

(Picture book. 3-6)