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THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI by Kelly J. Baptist Kirkus Star


by Kelly J. Baptist ; illustrated by Darnell Johnson

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64379-052-7
Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Kai lacks rhythm and, therefore, a dance nickname.

When Auntie Nina announces that she’s getting married, Kai gets to work practicing his dance moves in hopes of earning that nickname. In their African American family, Granddad gives everyone a nickname based on their electric slide dance moves. Baby sister Ava is dubbed “Baby Bounce,” big sister Myla is “Miss Boogie,” and older brother D.J. is “D.J. Groove,” but Kai has yet to receive his. He is haunted by the memory of the time he couldn’t figure out the dance moves and knocked over his little cousin. Determined to earn his nickname, Kai turns to his family for help, which they kindly provide. Despite this help, his desperation, and weeks of practice, when the big moment finally arrives, Kai slips away from the reception. What Kai doesn’t know is that his new uncle Troy is also looking forward to his dance nickname, and he convinces Kai to return to the reception, where they will earn those new nicknames together. Kai’s efforts to learn the electric slide are hilarious, making this story as much fun as the dance. The illustrations capture Kai in various states of confusion and dizziness and are sure to get giggles from readers. The underlying messages of familial closeness and perseverance serve as a foundation for the humor of the story and recall Kelly Starling Lyons and Daniel Minter’s Going Down Home With Daddy (2019).

An all-around wonderful book that will inspire laughter and perhaps even a little dancing.

(Picture book. 4-8)