Dance is a team sport in a narrative that is serviceable but not inspirational.


Five little children sparkle at their dance-class recital.

When their teacher announces that the class will perform at “the Butterfly Ball,” the four girls and one boy are all excited—except for Rosa, who is the youngest and who has had “less practice.” The others are extremely helpful to her, and all work diligently on their whirling and twirling and balancing. When the roles are assigned, Rosa is upset because she will be a glowworm—not a butterfly. Ollie, the one boy in the group, teases her, but she is reassured by the teacher that it is a very important part. Over a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, Grandma shares a story from her childhood that makes Rosa laugh and feel so much better. A gift of a glowworm from one of her fellow dancers adds to her happiness. The recital is perfect, and Rosa, the glowworm “steals the show.” Macdonald’s little story is filled to the brim with camaraderie, albeit laced with a small amount of teasing. Practice and cooperation are as important as actual dancing ability. Sutcliffe’s hand-drawn and digitally colored illustrations are adequate to the text. Rosa presents white, as does one other girl; Ollie and the other two girls are children of color.

Dance is a team sport in a narrative that is serviceable but not inspirational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-09407-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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No home run here.


From the I Can Read! series

Ultracool Pete the Cat turns his attention to baseball.

Pete’s team, the Rocks, is playing the Rolls. Pete is every measure of a good sport as he encourages his teammates. He isn’t, however, a skilled player. He strikes out and drops a fly ball, and though he reaches first base on a walk and runs as fast as he can, he is thrown out at home plate. “Pete is not sad, He did his best.” After all, his team won, and he had fun. It could be a great antidote to Little League pressure to be number one at all costs. But there is something off-putting about the tone, for there appears to be a lack of any real involvement in Pete’s cool, calm manner, and the repeated insistence that he is unaffected by his performance feels robotic. Does he love the game or intend to improve? Instead, the baseball game seems just another setting for Pete to demonstrate his cool. Cartoons nicely complement the text, but here too, no change of expression is apparent on Pete’s countenance, nor on any of the players’. The early-reader format is new to this series and hasn’t the lilt of Dean’s earlier works, so this might not be the way to expand the franchise.

No home run here. (Early reader. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-211067-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Not nearly so engaging as its subject, alas.


The fabulous musical Delacorte clock in Central Park in New York City is the subject of a snow monkey’s devotion, told in rhymed couplets.

Milo the snow monkey loves to watch and listen to the clock, on which two monkeys ring a bell and animals circle—the bear with a tambourine, the elephant with a squeezebox accordion, the hippo with the fiddle. He wants to join their dance. One day, the zookeeper leaves a gate unlocked, and Milo leaps out to sit on the bell with the monkeys and then dance with each animal figure in turn. The crowds cheer. But then Milo realizes it is cold up there, and there’s no food. Fortuitously, the zookeeper comes by, a well-placed nut toss attracts her attention and Milo is back with his buddies, “A clock can be special, but not like a friend!” It is clear from the falling russet leaves that this is autumn. Curiously, most of the brightly clad figures look more French than East Coast urban. There are hats on most of the adults and many of the children; there are scarves and hair ribbons galore on the big-eyed, sharp-nosed gentry in their plaids and polka-dots. The verse chugs along, thwacking its rhymes as it goes, which can be irritating or satisfying depending on readers’ tastes. A note “About the Dancing Clock” offers a bit more information.

Not nearly so engaging as its subject, alas. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58925-100-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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