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The Last Dance Hardcover – October 1, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the precious life lessons knit into the story line ("Every human being has a right to three things: to dance... to sing... to tell stories"), Deedy's fluid prose and flair for imagery ("the moon sat full-bellied on the treetops") turns a potentially trite story into a sweet, sentimental one. Childhood sweethearts Ninny and Bessie make a pact that when one of them dies, the other will come to the graveyard and dance on the grave. The story spans a lifetime, from the young couple's early moonlight dances at Ninny's grandfather's grave through marriage, a war and a last anniversary. In the end, Bessie fulfills her promise and saves the last dance for her beloved Ninny. Santini's impressionistic watercolors, rendered in muted shades of rose, smoke blue, and browns, effectively capture the bittersweet mood of the story. A note: although the subject may be more likely to appeal to beginning readers, the text-set in a decorative scriptface-is a visual stumbling block. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6?Two children promise that if one dies, the other will dance on the departed's grave. In prose laden with imagery, Bessie tells of her friendship with the tailor's son, Ninny, who summons her to join him on nighttime graveyard forays by pelting her window with buttons. Their friendship turns into a long, loving marriage through World War II and beyond. On their anniversary, the elderly couple dance and recall their childhood vow. The final page depicts Bessie dancing barefoot near her beloved's grave. Throughout, readers are reminded that life goes on, and that deceased loved ones are kept alive via memories and stories. Santini's flowing pastel watercolors are cluttered with buttons and blanket-stitched, parchmentlike backgrounds. While the fluid art suits the storyteller's lilting voice, the illustrator nearly overwhelms the pages with ghostly penciled images, movement, and distracting decorations. Best shared in small groups or read individually, this tale has a somber mood underlying the joy and love. Alice Schertle's Maisie (Lothrop, 1995) follows a woman's life without reminding readers that death waits at the end of all life stories.?Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: AD580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers; 1st edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561451096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561451098
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,079,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was given this book about 3 years ago by my Grandfather. I was searching for it to try and buy it as a gift and found that no review had been written. A book this good needs 5 stars. My husband and I met dancing so it was very appropriate. It is tender yet also very happy. It also ends with a very good moral about dancing, singing and laughing. The watercolors are beautful and I enjoy the unique size of the book. A must have.
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By A Customer on January 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book repeatedly. It is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. It also always makes me cry a little. The Last Dance is a good book on living life to the fullest. In our local library, they keep the book in a separated section from the other children's books, but I think that the children that could read it (or the ones with parents that would) could handle the reality of life and death.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very touching story. I was surprised that a child's book would have me in tears LOL! Carmen Deedy is an excellent author and once again she has written a brilliant book! Beautifully written with gorgeous illustrations.
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