Simonie and the Dance Contest

Inhabit Media. Aug. 2019. 30p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781772272246.
K-Gr 3–Simonie is a boy who loves to read and dance. He enters his local community center’s Jigging Dance Contest, but feels nervous about performing. After consulting with friends and family, Simonie learns to “feel the music” and wins first place dancing alongside his friend. Simonie and his community appear to be Inuit and he uses the Inuktitut words for mother and father. The publisher, Inhabit Media, produces stories about Nunavut culture, but neither the book’s location nor the language is named outright in the text. Matthews tells the story in several short paragraphs on each page, using descriptive language and bringing attention to Simonie’s emotional awareness and determination. His mother tells him, “Remember to enjoy the dance. Whatever’s in your heart, express it!” Hinch’s cartoonlike illustrations are joyful and lively. Simonie’s hair flops around while he dances, and his smile is radiant. The colorful spreads represent winter scenes of modern Inuit life.
VERDICT A relatable story about perseverance and facing your fears, featuring a unique setting. Recommended for purchase

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