An energetic boy tells his animal friends that they already know how to dance in this board book for very young readers by Craig (In Our Tree, 2016, etc.).
A young boy in a cave with a flashlight in the cartoonish illustration by Tan announces that bears, like the gigantic brown one he stands next to, “love to roar!” The boy does, too, and soon the two (the child only a quarter of the beast’s size) roar together like best friends. The sound effects of the bellowing are written in a decorative font that spreads wide on the page around the pair. The boy also likes to fly with candy-colored pastel birds; the sound of their wings flapping as they carry him through the air displays that same oversized font. Next the boy joins his bunny pals to hop on the grass and his otter friends to play “slippity-slide” in their watery home. But when the muddy boy invites the animals to dance with him, they decline, embarrassed at their lack of ability (“Oh no! We can’t dance! / say my friends all-a-giggle”). Nonsense! The boy explains that if they can flap, wiggle, roar, hop, or slide, they can dance, too. All it takes is a little effort, as the book’s title emphatically declares. Soon, the animals are all vigorously dancing, using one another’s moves: the bear flaps and the squirrel (wearing an amusing “Dance Baby” T-shirt) roars. The cheerful volume offers suitable vocabulary for newly independent readers just gaining confidence. And lap readers impatient with longer books should find the pacing a joy. The lush illustrations remain a bit wiggly—on the cover, the boy’s limbs look a bit like wet noodles—but they delightfully fit the tone of the exuberant work. Readers should be encouraged by the message that they can apply the skills they love and are proficient at to pursuits they may be nervous about trying.
A lively and clever volume about the importance of tackling new activities; perfect for toddlers who are ready for a little plot with their pictures and for children who can proudly read aloud to a younger sibling.