BALLET SISTERS

THE NEWEST DANCER

In the second entry in this easy reader series, a younger girl named Sylvie begins studying ballet, following in the footsteps of her big sister, Bonnie. In the first of three short chapters, Little Sylvie observes Bonnie’s class, meets the teacher and gets an invitation to join a beginner’s class. In the second chapter, Sylvie’s mother gives her a “not-birthday” present of ballet gear, and in the final chapter, Sylvie attends her first ballet class and afterward plays dress-up and dances with Bonnie at home. Big sister Bonnie narrates the story in first person using short sentences and simple vocabulary. The text is centered at the bottom of each page under Ormerod’s whimsical watercolor-and-ink illustrations, with each page surrounded by a pastel ribbon border. Ormerod’s young dancers are charming in both their facial expressions and creative dance movements, and the ballet classes include boys and children of different ethnic backgrounds. Though a work with this format is clearly intended for the easy-reader shelves, preschoolers interested in ballet lessons will also enjoy Sylvie’s interest in dance. (Easy reader. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-82282-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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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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JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

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