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Because . . . Hardcover – May 22, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Baryshnikov dances onto the stage of celebrity authors with a playful book about being true to oneself regardless of how others react. A boy recounts how his grandmother always embarrasses him, beginning with Monday when she leaps over a neighbor's head. As the week progresses, he quickly overcomes his discomfort and by Sunday has learned the reason behind her eccentric behavior. Fact and fantasy intermingle freely as the child describes his neighborhood, and everyone from the crossing guard to an alley cat responds to Grandma's antics by asking, Why? She brushes off their questions with a breezy because until she finally explains as she flies off into the sky, Because…I-am-a-dancer! The book's dialogue appears to be handwritten and is incorporated into the illustrations, creating a bold transition from the typeface of the narration. Light, playful characters float across the pages, their weightlessness and energy accentuated by broad expanses of white space. The strong artwork carries the spare, understated text, as the boy makes a surprisingly quick transition from embarrassment to awe and obvious pride. Fans of Baryshnikov and libraries looking for new titles about self-expression will wish to buy this book; others may consider it a supplemental purchase.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
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With performance credits that range from classical ballet to Sex in the City, Baryshnikov returns to The Nutcracker end of the spectrum with this children's book, cowritten and illustrated by seasoned picture-book-creator Radunsky. A child narrator explains how, on each day of the week, his grandmother's spry antics elicit questions from amazed observers ("Why did you do that?"). The jubilant, concluding answer ("Because . . . I am a dancer!") inspires the whole community to leap skyward and boogie alongside graceful Grandma, whose stout form challenges stereotypes about willowy ballerinas and stodgy oldsters--just as the aging yet active Baryshnikov has stretched boundaries in his own postballet career. The slight story may not sustain repeated readings, but young readers will respond to its worthwhile, inclusive message about joy in physical movement, delivered through words, buoyant pictures, and an inspiring jacket-flap statement: "It makes no difference whether you are old or young, tall or short, skinny or plump.. . . Reveal your special talent to the world." Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved