“THE BAMBOO DANCE,” by Cress Sia and Lisa Butler, Hartlyn Kids Media, September 2011, $12.99 (ages 4-7)
School is out for the day, and Paco and Diego are looking for something to do while they wait for Paco’s nanny to arrive. The two Filipino boys notice a group of schoolchildren gathering together in a parking lot. The children are learning to dance the tinikling, the national dance of the Philippines.
As Paco and Diego join the other children, they learn of a fiesta and auditions to dance during it. The boys decide to try their luck and show off their moves. Paco is graceful, but Diego trips up as the dance picks up speed. Paco promises to help his friend with his moves and they practice every day. And on the day of the audition, both boys are chosen to dance in the fiesta.
“The Bamboo Dance” has many things going for it: brightly colored and engaging illustrations and a fun story kids can relate to. Unfortunately, though, it takes a while to wade through the text.
“The Bamboo Dance” has more text than a traditional picture book and it almost feels like the author is throwing in information to justify its printing. A few pages have nothing to do with the dancing, focusing on the Filipino culture instead. While interesting, this lack of focus pulls young readers, who have short attention spans, away from the main story. Tighter editing and a clearer outline would have been beneficial.
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