From the opening panels it is clear that this is not a quiet reading book.
Much to Buggy’s chagrin, Horse loves to dance! The rubber-legged horse hops, leaps, twists, break-dances, and pirouettes across the pages. There’s even a John Travolta pose—all before the title page. But, hearing no music, Buggy insists, “You are just moving around.” In a sweet twist, Horse sympathetically declares, “I am not happy. Because you are not happy.” The problem is resolved with humor and compassion. Horse supplies music they can both hear. Then they both dance. Long uses fewer than 50 different words, many repeatedly, to tell this engaging story. “Dance,” “can,” and “can’t” are on almost every spread, ensuring new readers’ success. Hints to the meanings of more-challenging words are included in the pictures. The text consists entirely of Horse and Buggy’s conversation. Who is speaking is made clear by placing their simple declarative sentences in blocks of white with an arrow pointing at the speaker. The friends are cartoonish characters drawn in shades of gray with expressive round eyes; Horse’s are lashless, while Buggy’s sport three long lashes apiece, suggesting gender. These uncluttered and somewhat silly illustrations against solid blocks of teal, purple, orange, and green match the text perfectly.
As Horse says, “turn off the frown. Start getting down!” Beginning readers—get up, dance, and read! (Early reader. 4-8)