Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BRIANNA, JAMAICA, AND THE DANCE OF SPRING by Juanita Havill

BRIANNA, JAMAICA, AND THE DANCE OF SPRING

By Juanita Havill (Author) , Anne Sibley O’Brien (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 25th, 2002
ISBN: 0-618-07700-6
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Havill and O’Brien team up for a sixth offering about Jamaica, the second in the series to include Jamaica’s Asian-American friend, Brianna (Jamaica and Brianna, 1999, etc.). In this dance-themed story, the girls are enrolled in the same ballet school, along with Brianna’s older sister, Nikki. For their spring recital, each girl is assigned a role in the “Dance of Spring,” but repeated casting changes have to be made due to an epidemic of strep throat. Of course, the show must go on, with Jamaica moving a step up to the part of a bumblebee. Nikki and Brianna both get sick and have to miss the recital, but later, all three girls give an at-home performance of their dances for their attentive families. Jamaica plays a peripheral role in this entry in the series, which really focuses more on Brianna and Nikki and their disappointment in missing an important event that looms large at every dance school. The story offers a look at an issue that is hard for kids (and parents) to face: sometimes we get sick and have to stay home to recover, no matter how important the missed event. O’Brien’s watercolor and pastel illustrations show cute, expressive children, but their dance-class attire and the positions of their legs and feet while dancing aren’t exactly precise. Jamaica’s fans will enjoy reading about another aspect of her life just the same, and further adventures for Jamaica and Brianna seem likely in this popular ongoing series. (Picture book. 5-8)