DANCE!

The essence of dance is the movement and the music, both difficult to capture in writing, especially so in a work for young children. Cooper (Henry, not reviewed, etc.) describes all the players and the hard work required to prepare a modern dance piece for performance, from the company dancers entering the rehearsal studio to the curtain going up on opening night. His text adequately describes each step of the complex rehearsal timeline in a spare, often humorous style, although he sometimes gets carried away with flights of fancy that simply don’t work: dancers floating above the piano as symbolic musical notes and the dancers’ shadows taking on a life of their own will leave many children puzzled. Cooper’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are in a muted palette, with loose, stylized dancers usually shown in miniature, without faces. He includes extremely tiny, handwritten labels in many of the illustrations that are nearly impossible to read, and several pages have the text set in nonconventional ways (wrapping around in swirls, a circle, or a square), which convey motion but also make the reader work harder. Children who are seriously studying dance might be interested in learning about the professional rehearsal process (which mirrors their own), but this is unlikely to find a wide audience. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-029418-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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