Mario is a squirrel who loves his dance moves, from the “Bowling Ball” to “Twirly Ballet Arms,” and his relatives assure him he is amazing.
He believes them. His friend, blue–tutu-and-glasses-sporting Isabelle, however, dismisses his dance moves as “nice:” “ ‘NICE?’ said Mario. ‘I think you mean amazing. Or astonishing, maybe.’ ‘Hmmm,’ said Isabelle.” When she informs Mario that anyone can have a move, he’s devastated. He decides his new creative pursuit will be finding and displaying sticks… amazing sticks. He labels his sticks “Scratchy,” “Twiggles” and “Plain Jane.” When Isabelle realizes she’s driven her friend to these sticky extremes, she feels bad about the “nice” and switches it to a “elegant.” She adds “graceful.” In a harmonious denouement, the two squirrels mash their dance moves and invent the “Even More Amazingly Amazing Amazer.” (“And everyone was amazed.”) In one sense the story is about pursuing one’s own passion, no matter what others say or don’t say about it. It’s also about a friend who realizes the power of the wrong word at the wrong time and takes it back. Warm, winning gouache illustrations reflect soft autumnal landscapes populated by cartoonish animals and are juxtaposed with comically elaborate diagrams of various dance moves, some detailed on cut-out graph paper.
A charming story of friendship, dance moves, artistic fervor and squirrels. (And squirrel facts!) (Picture book. 4-8)