Kirkus Reviews QR Code
KITCHEN DANCE by Maurie J. Manning Kirkus Star


by Maurie J. Manning & illustrated by Maurie J. Manning

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-99110-5
Publisher: Clarion

“Scrape! Splash! Clunk! Clang!...I hear kitchen sounds,” says the curly-headed narrator as she and little brother Tito wake up to the sounds of their parents’ kitchen dance. Creeping downstairs, they see mother and father as “[s]ide by side with stacked plates they glide,” turning the routine of washing-up into a loving and even rather sexy tango. When Mama spots the two children, she and Papa sweep them up into an affectionate foursome, all singing, “¡Cómo te quiero!” Manning depicts this Afro-Latino family with verve, tilted angles and bright colors providing movement and warmth as tall, skinny Papa and slightly zaftig Mama strut their stuff. The full-bleed, double-page spreads radiate happiness in every line. It’s In the Night Kitchen decloaked; how salutary for children—protagonists and readers both—to see a set of parents loving each other with such abandon and enthusiasm. Their joyful inclusion of the kids makes this book read like one long, wonderful hug—as the narrator says, after being tucked back into bed with a couple extra besitos, “Umm, hmm.” (Picture book. 3-7)