Valerie Bolling‘s and Maine Diaz‘s Let’s Dance is a whirlwind of flying, stomping, spinning, leaping, somersaulting kids from around the globe showing moves from one of their country’s traditional dances. Diaz captures the pure joy of movement in her cartoon character’s whole bodies. An American breakdancer is upside down with excitement with the music and the fun of the dance. Bolling’s action rhymes will be fun for kids to sing out and play out while they dance! The characters dance flamenco in Spain, Kathak in India, Kuku in West African Guinea, long-sleeve dancing in China. One of my favorite illustrations is when the bright pages transition to a dramatic dark with the words “Counting sheep” while Diaz’s bevy of sheep give us a reprise of many of the dances featured in the story. There are step dancers, line dancers and some are singing their hearts out while, on the previous page, a little girl imagines as she falls into sleep.
Another treat are the endpapers with tiny illustrations of all the dancer’s shoes. Kids will have fun naming the shoes and adding Bolling’s rhythmical language that capture the moves.
I like to write about how dance crosses cultures. Dance in America draws from many cultures with migration from all over the world. Let’s Dance is a perfect addition for the youngest readers to a collection of books I wrote about in an earlier article for Multicultural Kid Blog. “Why dance each other’s dances? Because we are each other. Feel the beat of our cultural histories.” Why Dance Each Other’s Dances