Rock What Ya Got
by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Kerascoet
Little, Brown and Company
I’m usually not a huge fan of obvious “love” type books, but this one was fun! It opens with, “Once upon a blank piece of paper, where anything could happen…” and wraps into a ‘fairy tale’ the anticipation of wonder. Then we meet Viva, a girl an artist had sketched. The artist is not happy with what she drew, so she attempts to change the drawing, but Viva keeps saying, “Rock what ya got and rock it a lot…..”. The bouncy rhyme repeats itself, allowing readers to eventually ‘sing along’ with Viva.
With loose, color-splashy illustrations we watch Viva’s emotions of dislike and joy and we dance/sing at the turn of each page. A book readers may want to dance and sing out loud! Delightful to the heart.
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Spunky Little Monkey
Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Brian Won
Scholastic Press, 2017
Bill Martin Jr (of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) does it again with a new interactive book for spunky toddlers. Spunky Little Monkey is all about rhythm and rhyme, exercise and fun, and getting the body started in the morning.
Little Monkey has difficulty waking and the doctor prescribes exercise:
Sis! Boom! Bah!
POP UP, Monkey!
Rah! Rah! RAH!
Through a rhythmic, energetic, dancing song, monkey finds the rhythm in his head, then he finds the rhythm in his hands, then his feet and his hips. When he puts them all together, he feels much better. He gathers together his friends and off they go to play. Perfect book to learn body parts and run off steam. Brian Won illustrates monkey action in a toned down rainbow palette, showing lots of actions; although most kids readers will be dancing, not enjoying the art work!
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Swan, The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Chronicle Books, 2015
This poetically written story dances across the page to provide a glimpse into the early life of Anna Pavlova. A young Russian girl born into a poor family, Anna is taken to a ballet performance. From that night on, she wanted to be a ballerina; she could not stop her body from moving. She was not made to be a ballerina, her body was thin and frail, with a weak back and severely arched feet. As a child, she danced continually, she could not stop. Dancing became her only dream. Eventually she was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School. She was a natural ballerina. When she steps onto the stage in her performance of The Dying Swan, it’s like she sprouts white wings and becomes a swan in a breath-taking performance. The book contains an author’s note that includes additional biographical information. The story and notes are a joy to read; inspiring for any young dancer.
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