by Valerie Bolling; illus. by Maine Diaz
32 pages; ages 3 - 7
Boyds Mills Press, 2020
theme: dancing, rhyme, inclusion
Tappity-tap, fingers snap
Twist, twirl, slide, jeté! This verb-filled, rhyming book highlights dance moves from around the world. From ballet to disco, readers will feel their toes tapping to the rhythm of the words. Watch out! When you put the book down, you’ll want to leap, glide, and two-step across the floor.
What I like about this book: The action! With only four to six words per spread, author Valerie Bolling infuses the pages with movement. She captures the rhythm of dance in the rhythm of the language. Illustrator Maine Diaz captures the vibrancy of the diversity of dance from around the world, from Cuba’s cha-cha to the flowing long-sleeve dance from China.
I also like that there is just the right amount of back matter: a couple of sentences explaining each of the ten styles of dance.
A couple weeks ago, I caught up with Valerie by phone. We chatted about writing and kids – because that’s what happens when two teachers start talking – and dance. She graciously answered Three Questions:
Sally: Where did your inspiration come from?
Valerie: My inspiration for writing comes from my nieces. When they were young, they would spend a week with me a couple times a year. I began exploring the idea of writing children’s books. I also noticed that if you put music on, children dance!
Sally: I love that the pages are filled with action, with verbs. Can you talk about how that happened?
|author Valerie Bolling|
I had a couple of dances in mind as I began writing wiggle hips, dip, dip… Some of the phrases were inspired by dances I remembered from a wedding. And I remembered watching a young man in a wheelchair; he lifted up the front wheels and did a combination of zig-zag moves.
I give a lot of credit to my editor who saw the potential in expanding the concept to include dances from around the world. She knew I wanted to include diversity – of dance and children, and her vision helped bring it to kids on a global level.
Sally: So, do you dance?
Valerie: Oh yes! Turn on the music and we’ll dance in the kitchen. I love to dance at weddings, on a cruise ship – wherever the music inspires me to tap my toes. The funny thing is, I never took a dance class until I went to college. Then I took an African dance class and learned the Kuku.
Beyond the Books:
Check out these videos of Kuku dance (Guinea) and Cha Cha ( Cuba)
Create your own dance. All you need is some music and enough space to move. Turn on the radio, spin the platter, or stream a tune and bust some moves.
Thanks to Valerie for joining us today. You can find out more about her at her website here. Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.