Dreams may or may not come true, but the opportunity to have them is wonderful.

DIANA DANCES

A young girl finds her inner beauty in music and dance.

Diana is white, short, and chunky, and she wears glasses. She is not a good student at school, unable to concentrate, especially in math. It is in a psychologist’s office that her life turns around. When the doctor steps out to talk to her mother, he leaves the radio on, and Diana is literally swept off her feet as “her body moved gracefully, following the rhythm of the music.” The next logical and prescribed step is ballet school, and now Diana smiles, does well in math, and imagines herself performing on stage—“maybe.” Lozano’s little tale, originally published in Spain, is a lesson for children in both self-worth and not allowing body types to restrict development. And while, realistically, a child looking like Diana would most likely have a difficult time succeeding in ballet, the author graciously allows for participation at a student’s level and the opportunity to dream. His loose, fine-lined figures with cartoon-style faces are set against a white background. They depict one schoolmate in a wheelchair and several diverse children. The ballerinas she dreams of dancing with are tall and lithe; one is a person of color.

Dreams may or may not come true, but the opportunity to have them is wonderful. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77321-248-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits.

BOATS WILL FLOAT

Many types of working and pleasure craft are depicted in this humorous, straightforward picture book.

Curzon’s vibrantly colored illustrations bubble with plenty of detail, enough to help children recognize different boat types they may encounter on a trip to the ocean or harbor. The storyline progresses more or less through the day in different marine locations, from early morning, when fishing boats are starting out and dragon boats are “flying by,” to a gentle nighttime sailing scene. The view changes as the boats change, cycling through rolling waves, a festive beach tableau, underwater scenes as studied by divers from a research vessel and the crew of a submarine before culminating in the family depicted in the opening illustration, going to bed in their houseboat. This family is white; the crews of the various boats include some people of color. Rosenbaum’s text consists of easy, rolling rhymes, with plenty of descriptive language to conjure up the scene: “Sunlight sizzles, hot and bright”; boats “rise and fall in liquid motion”; Salty breezes. / Seagulls squalling.” There’s plenty of engaging visual detail, including a spread in which the signal flag alphabet is shown and the flags on two boats spell out the book’s title.

A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits. (picture glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-041-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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