Picture Mabel, bubble-bathed and lovingly tucked into bed. Now picture Mabel arising, drawn to the star-filled window, then counting her toes (ten) by the bedevilment of the sounds of a waltz—“one, two, three, one, two, three”—rising up the stairs from Mama and Papa’s dancing party below. What’s a girl to do? Grab her yellow blanket, get her dog, and sit on the staircase to watch, of course. And if a girl can't contain herself, she dances down the stairs, spins in her red nightgown, whirls in her yellow cape, and everybody applauds, even Papa and Mama, who pick her up to dance a three-person, four-legged waltz before taking her back upstairs to tuck her in again. Girl and dog fall asleep, still hearing the music. Hest’s (Off to School, Baby Duck, not reviewed, etc.) little Mabel is one great reason for parents to have dancing parties. Davenier’s (Low-Down Laundry Line Blues, 1999, etc.) ethereal watercolors match the poetry of the text and the spirit of the evening. Together, Hest and Davenier present a new look at a familiar childhood yearning. Delightful. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0746-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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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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Amandina Goldeneyes can “dance, and sing, and act beautifully, and perform the most daring acrobatics,” but she is so shy no one realizes what a wonderful little dog she is. One evening Amandina decides to cure her shyness by giving a performance and inviting everyone. The floppy-eared Amandina rents a run-down theater, repairs and cleans it, designs and sews her own costumes, builds sets and props, sends out invitations and advertises, each activity depicted in cunning vignettes and framed panels. She dreams she will be a great success. Come opening night, Amandina is excited and nervous, but unprepared for an empty theater. Undaunted, she performs her prologue, comic pantomime, band concert, folk songs, dances, magic act and acrobatic finale as planned. And when she takes her bow, she has a wonderful surprise. Quiet, precise, whimsical watercolor illustrations in subdued pastels enhance the surreal ambiance of Amandina’s solitary exploits. A subdued but charming tribute to determination and perseverance. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-236-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

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