An inviting version of a Canadian song that will resonate—and reverberate.

I'S THE B'Y

THE BELOVED FOLK SONG

Clap your hands and dance along to a traditional Newfoundland folk melody.

Newfoundlanders, along with diverse creatures, happily join their hands, hoofs, fins, and feathers for a traditional and much-loved folk song/dance. After the boy, or b’y, catches fish, he brings them home to Liza as a guitar-strumming player and an accordionist are joined on stage by two more musicians—a fish and a moose. The villagers, human and animal, form circles and dance to the lively beat. All then enjoy a hearty meal as the catch is laid out to preserve and dry. A cheerful refrain accompanies the dancers, who now form a big circle as puffins frolic in the air and on the rocks. The setting then moves to the shoreline, and twilight brings a joyful conclusion to the day’s festivities. A note from the illustrator provides an explanation for the local customs and word usage. The colorful, utterly exuberant illustrations—digitally created, though they have a smudgy, hand-painted feel—are an enticing introduction to the music, which can be found on YouTube for those curious. Swirling text complements the upbeat lyrics that celebrate the Canadian island. The locals vary in skin tone; the titular b’y is brown-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An inviting version of a Canadian song that will resonate—and reverberate. (musical notation) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77164-833-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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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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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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