A sugarplum-sweet treat.

READ REVIEW

BEA IN THE NUTCRACKER

The diminutive star of Bea at Ballet (2012) returns for an encore, this time dancing the starring role of Clara in a production of The Nutcracker ballet.

In a charming and accessible introduction to the beloved holiday classic, Bea and her ballet school classmates perform a simplified interpretation of The Nutcracker. The group of dancers, who appear to be only 3 or 4 years old, includes adorably costumed children of different ethnicities, indicated by hairstyles and facial features rather than skin tone, as the children are outlined against white backgrounds. The ballet’s plot is skillfully summarized, including integral elements such as the Nutcracker/Prince, the battle between the mice and the soldiers, and the visit to the Land of Sweets. (Godfather Drosselmeyer and the scary Mouse King are absent.) The text, set in attractive silvery type, is just one sentence per page plus some speech balloons, reduced to the simplest terms that even young preschoolers will easily comprehend. Isadora is a former ballet dancer who has been writing and illustrating children’s books about ballet for over 30 years. She conveys the magical aspects of the beloved holiday ballet in an easy, straightforward way that will prepare first-time attendees for a holiday performance. There are many attractive picture-book versions of The Nutcracker available, but this is by far the simplest interpretation in print.

A sugarplum-sweet treat. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25231-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind.

DANCE

Using his signature supersturdy pull-tabs to animate the scenes, Van Fleet concocts a crowd pleaser about a baby chick learning to dance.

At the dance hall, a newly hatched chick, dubbed “Chickie Baby,” is taught to shake by hippopotamuses, to hop by bunnies, and more. The rhyming text is playfully repetitive and rhythmic, employing some clever wordplay: “Cool, Chickie Baby, now you’re great and gettin’ greater! / Now swing both your arms and do the Gator Mashed Potater!” Here an alligator teaches Chickie Baby a fist-pumping arm motion (not actually the 1960s mashed potato dance), activated by the pull-tab on the right of the page. There are times when the text’s phrases miss the meter and the refrain after Chickie Baby learns a step (“You can dance!”) doesn’t quite flow. The final double-page spread shows Chickie Baby showing off all of his moves, and his friends offer a curtain call in the form of a gatefold pop-up. But the star here, for any toddler or preschooler, will be the extra-large pull-tabs. From the “Busy Beaver Bop” to the “Crazy Piggy Tap,” these tabs demand to be pulled repeatedly—and they can take it. A thick, clear piece of plastic acts as protection for the parts, making this series the sturdiest movable books available.

Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind. (Pop-up board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8707-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more