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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Giant Dance Party, written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman. Greenwillow Books, Harper. 2013. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Then it hit her.
The perfect plan.
"I know, I know, I know!
I'll be a dance teacher!"
she cried.
Oh, the minute she said it,
she knew it was a great idea.
Teachers never have to perform.
No stages. No shows. No audience. No ice pops."

While she loves to dance, Lexy is not so enamored of those terrifying stage performances. Her reaction is evident on the poster she creates to show the world that she has made a final decision:

"I Quit ballet!
and tap and jazz
and tango and
Scottish highland dancing!"

Her parents are aghast and remind her that she loves dancing. Yes, she does. It takes but a moment for them to realize the source of the's the recitals! They take all the fun out of it for Lexy. She has a desperate case of stage fright. Finally, she's letting the world know.

Teaching seems an evident alternative. But, when you are a teacher you get what you get. After a week filled with despair over no interest in her dance lesson posters, she finally meets some new students. They are not at all what she was expecting:

"Now, let's be clear about one thing. Giants? Yeah, they don't dance. They stumble and they stomp and they stretch and scratch, but that's not exactly dancing. That's why it was so weird when five of them showed up at Lexy's house on Saturday morning and bellowed, "DANCE LESSONS, PLEASE!""

Lexy is not happy, and she is also not easy to convince that these are just the students she needs. Without experience, she finds to difficult to determine where to even start with them. The only way to do it is to get right to it...and that is what she does. She turns giant blue beings into skillful, accomplished dance students, all in preparation for an  upcoming recital. What? A recital? What will happen when the curtain opens?  You will need to get a copy of this charming and full-of-fun new book to discover that for yourself.

They'll be dancing in the library when you share this book...or, they will be wanting to do just that! The story is told skillfully with Betsy Bird's young audience in mind. It's fun, and funny! The digital art created in bold color and seen from frequently changing perspectives will keep listeners entertained and begging for more. On with the dance!

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