Everybody can dance? Silly wordplay delivers a not-so-subtle message to value each person’s unique moves.
The brief story plays off the similar pronunciations of “flamingo” and “flamenco” but does not confine itself to that dance form, introducing seven different sorts of animal and an equal number of different dances. On the versos of the ensuing sequence of six double-page spreads, hippos dance hip-hop, wallabies waltz, tigers tap, a bear performs ballet, “camels can cancan in a long chorus line,” and sloths slow dance; a flamboyant flamingo on the right side of each spread outshines each with flamenco moves. Unfortunately, the book itself does not shine. A design decision to introduce the animals in a different order than originally shown is confusing, and the animals seem to have been chosen for their alliterative possibilities and improbable dance skills rather than for genuine animal characteristics. Toddlers unfamiliar with dance styles will not appreciate the flamingo’s contortions, much less the other animals’ moves, especially in their dance costumes. The rhyming text lacks rhythm; words and pictures don’t always match. For example, one bear is shown while the text reads “bears.” The ending, with the animals changing partners and the lines “We each have a dance, / so dance well your part. / Dance with all of your heart… / …even if it’s not the flamenco,” lands with something of a thud.
This clumsily executed extended dance metaphor doesn’t make the cut.(Board book. 2-4)