The Electric Slide and Kai

Lee & Low. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781643790527.
K-Gr 2–In the Donovan family, everyone has a dance nickname bestowed by Granddad except for Kai. After embarrassing himself during the electric slide at a family reunion, Kai decides he can’t dance. When Kai’s aunt Nina invites the family to her wedding, Kai becomes determined to learn the moves and earn approval (and the coveted nickname) from his grandfather. He approaches each family member, even his little sister Ava, known as “Baby Bounce,” for advice and practices for the whole month before the wedding. Despite his preparations, Kai gets nervous at the reception and sneaks off the dance floor. With some encouragement from Mr. Troy, now his new uncle who’s also eager for a nickname, Kai finally shows off his moves and becomes “Lil’ Slide.” Johnson’s digital illustrations show this loving Black family in scenes that have a dynamic cartoon quality, well suited to conveying the fun dance moves (and Kai’s blunders) as well as the child’s many emotions throughout the story.
VERDICT An uplifting story with just the right mix of humor, family love, and an unobtrusive lesson in persistence, plus a glowing look at the hubbub around a wedding, this is a recommended purchase.

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