MORNING DANCE by Todd Hannert


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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Hannert's picture-book debut is an odd, though ultimately successful, combination of story and idiosyncratic artwork. The story revolves around a semi-sweet little prose poem concerning a young boy, Sherman, and his efforts to jump-start the day: "Every day is the same. The same old thing in the same old way. But I kind of made up a dance this morning while I was brushing my teeth." That dance finds him bumping down the stairs, flying out a window, tumbling through the air to land on his dog. The two engage in a brief polka, then it's airborne again through the window for Sherman and into his seat at the breakfast table. Simple enough. The artwork, on the other hand, is quirky yet beguiling. For instance, it is not clear if Sherman is a boy or a dog or something else—it's the nose. And it is none too clear if he is having a good time, for Sherman's face is a cipher. (Hannert is a puppet-maker, so maybe that explains it.) On the other hand, he says, "I'm probably not remembering it all / or exactly the way it was done." The illustrations, colored pencils on sandpaper are set on bright, white background and the text looks hand-lettered and is scattered over the page much as Sherman is. He is utterly engaging even if, and perhaps because, he is a bit of a mystery. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8118-2812-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2001


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