A World of Dancers

Penguin. (Level 4). Apr. 2023. 48p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780593384039; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593384022.
Gr 3-5–Expressive movement is a phenomenon shared by humans as a species. This overview introduces elementary school readers to dance traditions from a wide selection of cultures. Organized by the role dance plays in a community—ceremony, folk, or performance—it gives examples of styles from every continent but Antarctica and draws some parallels between them. The writing style is personable and includes phonetic spellings for non-English words. The narrative is peppered with italicized action or sound words, such as “Swish!” and “Boom!,” to encourage active reading or listening. Vivid photographs depict dancers of multiple ethnicities, often children, wearing traditional attire. Descriptions of how costume influences movement or how specialized shoes, musical instruments, or props factor into the dance forms give added context. Some basic historical information is included, e.g., that tap dance developed as a means of communication among enslaved people in America. Without references or suggestions for further reading, it may not satisfy requirements for serious young researchers, but it should do nicely to spark interest in the topic.
VERDICT Recommended as an introduction to world dance styles that is accessible and inclusive of many cultures.

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