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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mario Makes a Move, written and illustrated by Jill McElmurry. Schwartz & Wade, Random House. 2012. $18.99 ages 4 and up

""That's nice," said Isabelle.
"NICE?" said Mario.
"I think you mean amazing.
Or astonishing, maybe?"
"Hmmm," said Isabelle.
"It's called the Amazing Amazer,"
said Mario.
"Oh," said Isabelle."

Mario is a performer and he wants everyone to know just how brilliant he really is. He has moves that would make John Travolta envious. All of his amazing moves take place at home in his tree. The family is suitably impressed. Isabelle? Not so much. She doesn't seen him as the 'be all and end all'.

In fact, she thinks she is pretty good at what she does. She too is a performer and works very hard to fashion some pretty impressive moves of her own. Watching Isabelle gives Mario pause. Soon, he is not so enamored of himself and his sizable talent. Feeling sorry that she has created a sense of failure for her friend, Isabelle sets out to make things better:

"But you said it was NICE," said Mario.
"I meant to say it was elegant."
"Elegant?" said Mario.
"And graceful."

That is all he needs, and he is ready to put his formidable talent to work once more. Single or together, Isabelle and Mario are AMAZING!

There is a feeling of 'pul-eeze' with Mario's pouty artistic ego; but, Isabelle's friendship brings out the best in him and readers will be delighted with the final result. The art adds charm to the fun that the text provides, showing the cast of animal characters in their own milieu - warm, autumn colors and plenty of acorns. The specifications for each move will have eager readers poring over the form, and wanting to design some moves of their own.  Finally, Jill McElmurry adds a page of informational detail about squirrels that might surprise:

"5. You have four front teeth that never STOP growing.
6. You have THUMBS on your feet.
7. Also, you sweat through your feet."

Love what you do and share you passion - I think that is what Mario and Isabelle would want us to learn from their story.

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