From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4—Apprehensive about her jazz dance recital despite the encouragement of her three bebopping great-aunties, Mindy stomps off to her room to cry. Spying a talking drum outside her window, she follows it down the fire escape to find herself whisked back in time to the Savoy Ballroom of the '20s or '30s. Stepping inside, she is swept up with dancers doing the Lindy Hop to the bouncing music of Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald. "Somebody's trying to mess with my mind," she says, puzzling over the clothing and hairstyles. As a Battle of the Bands begins, clarinets wailing and drumsticks pounding, Mindy dodges the club bouncer and finds herself entered in the dance competition, along with her suddenly youthful aunts. She performs her recital dance for the enthusiastic crowd, then lands back on her bed at home where she announces that she's ready for her performance. Her aunties respond with perfectly executed splits. Rhythmic gouache and pastel paintings depicting swinging dancers and jiving musicians perfectly complement the lyrical energy and magical realism of the cadenced prose. A terrific read-aloud, Stompin' at the Savoy
is brimming with the irrepressible energy and "happy feet" of the Lindy Hoppers. A splendid shelf-mate would be Ntozake Shange's Ellington Was Not a Street
(S & S, 2004).—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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Gr. 2-4. Nervous about her jazz recital dance, Mindy follows a magical talking drum to the Savoy Ballroom in 1920s Harlem, where she moves her happy feet to the loud, joyful music of the legendary bands, and joins the dancers shaking and stomping, swinging and strutting. Young readers won't recognize the famous jazz names (from Chick Webb to Benny Goodman), but Campbell, who is best known for her adult books, and renowned watercolorist Yarde create an exuberant sense of the legendary ballroom with the great artists in music and dance who give the child the strength to join in ("She felt as if her body was a drumbeat"). The watercolors, with sharply etched white outlines and shapes, express the magical realism and rhythms of the shimmying dancers and musicians lit up in the night. Mindy's return home becomes just as magical when her three great-aunts inspire her with their own dance moves. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved