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The Jellybeans and the Big Dance Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Right from the glittery cover showing animal ballerinas dancing, it will be hard for young readers to resist this book. Emily the dog dances everywhere, always wears pink, and has high expectations for her first dance class. Unfortunately, her fellow classmates (a pig, cat, and rabbit) would rather play soccer, paint, or watch shyly than work on their "Oh, Little Bug!" dance. With her hopes for new friends and a wonderful princess costume dashed, Emily and her mother seek consolation at the local candy shop. At the next dance class, the pup shares small bags of jellybeans with Nicole, Anna, and Bitsy. She reminds her equally discouraged fellow dancers that, just as the first letters of their names spell out "bean," each jellybean's different flavor still goes well with the others. The dancing Jellybeans decide to make their routine special, and each one uses her talent to teach a performance-related skill to the others. With cute bug costumes and a new sense of camaraderie, the Jellybeans have a winning recital and celebrate with a trip to the store for their favorite candy. Expressive cartoon animals in pastel colors dance and stumble across the pages in an endearing fashion, working out their problems and appreciating each other's uniqueness. Despite a layout best suited for independent reading, the characters and ballet school setting also hold wide appeal for young listeners.—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Little Emily loves to dance anywhere, anytime, so she’s disappointed when she enters a ballet class and discovers that her fellow students don’t share her passion. Bitsy prefers to paint, Nicole loves soccer, and Anna likes to read. After many frustrations, Emily finds a way to unite her classmates, and making use of each girl’s interest, the group puts together a routine and performs enthusiastically at the recital. This mines familiar themes about pushing past differences and finding similarities with new friends, but the text is well paced and includes clever, whimsical touches. In addition, Munsinger’s illustrations add great depth and emotion to the story in scenes of the friends, portrayed as childlike animals of different species. Many little ones, particularly those facing their own performance jitters, will see themselves in the tiny, tutu-clad critters who simmer, worry, and then reassure one another before their jubilant debut. Not a necessary purchase, but a sure hit with kids on the dance-recital circuit. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg
Top customer reviews
Emily's mother enrolls her in a dance class where she meets the three other little girls who are there and will be in her class. The kitten, Nicole, can think of nothing else but soccer, the little bunny, Anna, who constantly has her nose in a book (my oldest granddaughter who dropped out of dance after one year because all she liked to do was read), and then Bitsy, the little piglet, who loves to paint. The three really did not want to be in the dance class at all. This is a very big disappointment to Emily.
The dance teacher tells the group that they will be practicing "Oh, Little Bug" dance routine which further disappoints Emily who wanted her first dance to be about princesses so she could wear a beautiful pink princess gown. Not to be. The first day of practice they joined hands and went around and around in a circle and knocked down their storage cubbies with their names on them. The names fell off and when landing on the floor, the letters of their first names spelled out bean. Wow, thought Emily.
The next days were chaotic with the girls fumbling and tumbling with their routines, nobody except Emily liking to dance. Emily's mother could see how upset she was so took her to the candy store where Emily saw the jars of jellybeans and had a great idea. The next day at dance class, she presented each girl with a small bag of jellybeans which they loved. Emily explained the the jelly beans came in all different colors and flavors, just like them, and maybe they could figure out some way to all have fun together.
They studied bugs together and found four bugs that were cute. Each made a costume about their favorite bug. The big day came for the recital and then Emily got stage fright and couldn't remember the dance steps. Nicole took Emily's hand and they started kicking and the other girls joined in, all having so much fun as The Jellybeans. The dance turned out great and the four little girls became the closest of friends, learning that everyone is different, that different ideas and likes and looking beyond their differences, can bring friendship if they all work together.
The illustrations are precious and so very sweet, vibrant and action filled. A good story with a good moral that should appeal to little girls. I think even as young as two year olds up to first graders would be charmed with this books.
The illustrations in this book are adorable, colorful and easy to follow. The characters are enjoyable. Although the solution to their problem is a bit too easy, it is still a positive message about working together and making the best of your situation. I would recommend this book for up to grade 2.