For those who prefer their princesses brave and perfectly pretty.


A stylish princess works hard to distinguish herself and find her true calling.

Tutu-clad princess Brianna loves ballet but just cannot master the steps—steps she tries to execute on the palace grounds and not in a studio with a teacher. After a conversation with Pixie, her pink, salon-groomed poodle, she decides to try other pursuits, but “finding a talent” is not an easy goal to meet. Neither cooking nor soccer is hers to master. Then she discovers fencing, and discarding her tutu for a one-piece ensemble adorned with ribbons, she practices. Alas, this does not lead to mastery for clumsy Brianna, who runs through the drills of swordplay—once again by herself, without an instructor. Then, one night, thieves make off with the palace’s sparkling jewels, and Brianna is successful in foiling them by combining the steps, moves, and balances of ballet and fencing. Thus one princess discovers her two talents and earns her titular title. Hee’s brightly colored digital illustrations feature a pale-skinned, beribboned Brianna with a perfectly coifed black ponytail and big black eyes. Descriptive words and verbs are emphasized in differently colored type, usually pink.

For those who prefer their princesses brave and perfectly pretty. (brief glossary of ballet and fencing terms) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-50395-101-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.


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 lively celebration of music and expressive dance.


The beat is all around her when a girl takes a walk in the park with her mother.

On a lovely summer day, a young African-American girl in a bright pink sundress and matching sneakers sees, smells, sings, claps and snaps her fingers to an internal rhythm. As a boom box plays its song and a drummer taps his beat, neighborhood children join her in an energetic, pulsating dance culminating in a rousing musical parade. Schofield-Morrison’s brief text has a shout-it-out element as each spread resounds with a two-word phrase: “I shook a rhythm with my hips. /SHAKE SHAKE”; “I tapped the rhythm with my toes. / TIP TAP.” Morrison’s full-bleed, textured oil paintings capture the joy of a mother and daughter in an urban park surrounded by musicians, food vendors and many exuberant children. Read this aloud with music playing loudly—not in the background. Morrison is a Coretta Scott King/New Talent Award winner, and this is a fine debut for his wife in their first collaboration.

A lively celebration of music and expressive dance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-178-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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