Dance is a team sport in a narrative that is serviceable but not inspirational.

THE LITTLE DANCERS: SHOWTIME!

Five little children sparkle at their dance-class recital.

When their teacher announces that the class will perform at “the Butterfly Ball,” the four girls and one boy are all excited—except for Rosa, who is the youngest and who has had “less practice.” The others are extremely helpful to her, and all work diligently on their whirling and twirling and balancing. When the roles are assigned, Rosa is upset because she will be a glowworm—not a butterfly. Ollie, the one boy in the group, teases her, but she is reassured by the teacher that it is a very important part. Over a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, Grandma shares a story from her childhood that makes Rosa laugh and feel so much better. A gift of a glowworm from one of her fellow dancers adds to her happiness. The recital is perfect, and Rosa, the glowworm “steals the show.” Macdonald’s little story is filled to the brim with camaraderie, albeit laced with a small amount of teasing. Practice and cooperation are as important as actual dancing ability. Sutcliffe’s hand-drawn and digitally colored illustrations are adequate to the text. Rosa presents white, as does one other girl; Ollie and the other two girls are children of color.

Dance is a team sport in a narrative that is serviceable but not inspirational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-09407-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move.

MOVE!

An interactive board book promises a variety of experiences.

A book that gets kids up and moving sounds like a great idea. The half-circle cutout of the spine and large handle formed by another die cut on the right side are intriguing. Unfortunately, the rhyming instructions for using the book as an exercise prop are confusing. Even adults will find themselves puzzled when told to “paddle the floor,” or to “hang on the handles. Step over the book. / You're a turtle in its shell! Go peek out and look.” The busy pictures shift perspective according to each scenario presented but give few visual clues. For example, the only hint of a dinosaur on the page where readers are told to “put this book to your mouth and let out a roar” like a dinosaur are the teeth that line the edges of what is meant to be a gaping maw. It’s not always obvious whether the book is meant to be facing readers or turned away from them, adding another layer of confusion. Furthermore, many of the instructions run counter to how young children are typically taught to treat books, as when they are told to step on it and then waddle or to lift it with their feet. The relatively thin board pages and weak handles will soon be torn by normal handling; following the directions in the text will only hasten the destruction.

Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8733-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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