Engaging and inspiring, this brief introduction is also fun to read.

READY TO FLY

HOW SYLVIA TOWNSEND BECAME THE BOOKMOBILE BALLERINA

A young black girl overcomes prejudice and financial barriers to become a successful ballerina and teacher in this picture book based on a true story.

Sylvia Townsend hears her parents’ music—jazz and symphonies—and she rises “to my toes, ready to fly.” She sees Swan Lake on television and decides she must learn ballet—but her supportive parents can’t pay for lessons. When a bookmobile comes to town, books about ballet become her teachers. She learns well, even teaching other girls in her neighborhood. When her fourth grade teacher sees the talented girl dance, she offers to pay for lessons, but three different schools turn Sylvia away. Only one “let[s] the real reason slip—ballet is for white girls.” Sylvia is disheartened—but her pupils still want lessons. At a school talent show, Sylvia’s skill leads to a connection to a Russian ballet teacher. After a successful audition, Sylvia earns a free place in her school. On the final spread, an adult Sylvia teaches a multiethnic room full of children at Sylvia’s School of Dance. Lyon and LaFaye have co-authored a standout text that centers action in this triumphant story. Gibson’s full-color illustrations use patterns, textures, and expressive facial features to show a loving family, a vibrant community, and a talented girl who becomes an accomplished woman. Townsend contributes a brief introduction, and backmatter elaborates on her life and on the history of the bookmobile.

Engaging and inspiring, this brief introduction is also fun to read. (notes, references, further reading) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-288878-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lively celebration of music and expressive dance.

I GOT THE RHYTHM

The beat is all around her when a girl takes a walk in the park with her mother.

On a lovely summer day, a young African-American girl in a bright pink sundress and matching sneakers sees, smells, sings, claps and snaps her fingers to an internal rhythm. As a boom box plays its song and a drummer taps his beat, neighborhood children join her in an energetic, pulsating dance culminating in a rousing musical parade. Schofield-Morrison’s brief text has a shout-it-out element as each spread resounds with a two-word phrase: “I shook a rhythm with my hips. /SHAKE SHAKE”; “I tapped the rhythm with my toes. / TIP TAP.” Morrison’s full-bleed, textured oil paintings capture the joy of a mother and daughter in an urban park surrounded by musicians, food vendors and many exuberant children. Read this aloud with music playing loudly—not in the background. Morrison is a Coretta Scott King/New Talent Award winner, and this is a fine debut for his wife in their first collaboration.

A lively celebration of music and expressive dance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-178-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more