Singer explores diverse dance styles through poetry.
The book opens with two cleverly written companion poems that mirror each other. The playfulness of these poems is visually represented with illustrations of children flipping over each other in a swing-style move. The following 15 poems are titled after different dance forms from around the world, including hip-hop, salsa, two-step, and bhangra. Each poem is written with the rhythm and beat common to the dance style being described. Though this form is inventive, the poems themselves can be somewhat dull, often focusing on kids struggling to learn the various dances themselves or watching another person perform them well. Moreover, the beat may be difficult to find for readers who are not familiar with the various dances, rendering the technique ineffective, though a CD that accompanies the book may help with this. The energetic illustrations enliven the poems themselves, embracing varied cultures and costumes and employing a variety of perspectives to highlight the distinctive personality of each dance. Brief notes at the end present basic information about each dance style’s origins and traditional use.
Though some poems fall flat, overall it’s an effective introduction to the merriment of dance enjoyed by diverse cultures the world over. (notes) (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)