Friday, June 16, 2017

Dance is for Everyone by Andrea Zuill

Note: I was hoping to finish my final review (only one children's book left!) and then post a Fiona Friday photo by tonight, but a storm is moving in. So, while I will definitely post one more book review if the storm holds off long enough, I'm going to hold the kitty photo for Saturday.

Mrs. Iraina's students are surprised when a new student shows up for ballet class. But, nobody wants to tell an alligator that she can't stay, and the alligator is good at following the dance moves. Mrs. Iraina reads about alligators and stocks alligator chow, just in case. The students grow to like the new student and start calling her Tanya because she resembles Madame Tanya Prefontaine, a prima ballerina.

Much like Madame Prefontaine, Tanya was very strong. 
A bit too strong. 

And she didn't seem to know what was going on with her tail.

But what could they do? [...]

They didn't want to hurt her feelings. That might make her grumpy or bitey. 

The "grumpy or bitey" line made me laugh. Fortunately, the children and their teacher are clever and come up with a solution to Tanya's swinging tail (tying it to her body with a sash) so that they can practice their new dance for the recital: "The Legend of the Swamp Queen". The recital goes well. Adults predictably think Tanya is a person in a realistic costume. But, after the recital, Tanya goes missing.

Where has Tanya gone? The class misses her until one day an invitation shows up and the children go to the swamp, where they find that Tanya has trained other the alligators to dance.

Highly recommended - I gave Dance is for Everyone 5 stars at Goodreads because it makes me smile throughout the reading and I love the illustrations, which are mostly color on an all-white background. Exceptions are the stage scenes in which green curtains and scenery serve as backdrops. I particularly liked the theme of acceptance in spite of differences. Apart from the fact that they're a little nervous about potentially being bitten or knocked off their feet by a swinging tail, nobody is all that bothered by Tanya's appearance. Of special note: I didn't notice on the first reading that one of the dancers is a little boy. Awesome! Inclusiveness goes in many directions.

©2017 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

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