Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PENGUIN CHA-CHA by Kristi Valiant


by Kristi Valiant ; illustrated by Kristi Valiant

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-375-87072-9
Publisher: Random House

Julia devises a plan to dance with penguins at the zoo.

Sharp-eyed Julia is perched high up in a tree watching a human dance troupe perform when she notices penguins stealing away with a boa, hats and fans. She follows them back to Penguin Cove, but all she sees are immobile black-and-white forms. Still curious, she brings out her binoculars and watches from a Ferris wheel as they jitterbug, hip-hop and boogie-woogie. Donning a top hat, she runs in to join them, but they are as still as “penguin Popsicles.” Still determined, she designs a perfect penguin costume and enlists Hippo as her partner. The penguins stand motionless. At long last, Julia achieves success when she teaches the penguins how to cha-cha. Now it is “[t]ap, flap, cha-cha-cha,” all around the ice. Valiant has crafted a fast-paced and entertaining tale of zoo shenanigans. Her watercolor paintings are fluid, swirling about the page with dance-floor fluidity. She plays with perspective and page design to present an eye-catching array of dance moves and colorful attire that could grace any ballroom floor or penguin habitat.

Fans of penguins and fans of dance and movement alike will enjoy this humorous romp. (Picture book, 3-7)