Just Dance

128p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781481472524.
Gr 3–5—Ten-year-old Sylvie Bloom enjoys an idyllic childhood with her parents and younger brother on their Casper, WY, farm. But a nagging concern that her mother, once an international opera singer, will eventually find their life dull and leave to return to the stage is not relieved by her mother's obvious joy in her present life, as she sings to the livestock and dances spontaneously with her husband. A summer assignment writing the sheriff's newspaper column exposes Sylvie to his wisdom, the goings-on in the town, and the eccentricities of its residents, but she must confront her fears when her mother's former singing partner comes to town for a concert. This short, quiet, lyrical novel moves along swiftly and is sprinkled with Sylvie's touching poetry. Characters are lightly drawn but distinctive and endearing, particularly Sylvie's brother Nate. Along the way, readers will learn a bit about music, community, and family ties.
VERDICT A good choice for empathetic young readers and most middle grade shelves.

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