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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Song and Dance Man (Dragonfly Books) Paperback – January 15, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Once a song and dance man, Grandpa reclaims his youth and profession before the delighted eyes of his three grandchildren one afternoon. He simply cannot resist the urge to dress up in clothes left over from his vaudeville days--complete with top hat and gold-headed cane--and to perform tricks, play banjo and tell jokes. He taps, twirls and laughs himself to tears on a thrown-together stage in his attic. Artist Stephen Gammell takes full advantage of lamplight to render Grandpa in shadow and silhouette, trivializing the concept of age and creating a feeling of intense nostalgia. Related from the point of view of the children, the text in Song and Dance Man is soft and understated, and Gammell's artistry is superb. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1989. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this Caldecott winner, Grandpa relives his vaudeville days for an adoring audience--his grandchildren. Ages 3-7.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dragonfly Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (January 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780679819950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679819950
  • ASIN: 0679819959
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 7, 2000
Format: Library Binding
This delightful book written by Karen Ackerman depicts a fun and loving relationship between a grandfather and his grandchildren. The children are delighted with their grandfather's antics and his tales of a time long ago when he was young, dancing on the vaudeville stage. The book depicts the grandfather as an energetic and vivacious elderly person and a joy for his grandchildren. Young children will love the vibrant and colorful llustrations by Stephen Gammell which add a sense of excitement and reality to the story.
Note to teachers: This book can be used in a unit pertaining to family and would be an excellent source for teaching another area of diversity, the elderly.
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Format: Paperback
I think there must be a whole old-people-dancing picture book genre out there. Tons of these books appear on the market every year and they bring in a steady profit time and time again. Perhaps the most successful of these (which is to say, it won an award) is Karen Ackerman's charming, "Song and Dance Man". A simple tale of a grandfather puttin' on a show for his grandchildren, the book is a touching tribute to the Vaudeville kings and queens of yore.

Three bright eyed urchins appear at their grandfather's door one day, to his evident delight. Without further ado he leads them up into the house's attic where he keeps a trunk of old treasures. It takes a little sifting and shifting to find exactly what he needs, but soon Grandpa's old taps are on his feet and the lamps in the attic become the spotlights of a makeshift stage. Grandpa begins with a shuffle footed tap solo then moves on to banjo playing/singing, magic tricks, and awful old jokes. The night's entertainment is topped off with a grand finale of tapping and dancing. The crowd (of three) goes wild and everything is put away again. "But as he turns off the attic light, Grandpa glances back up the stairs, and we wonder how much he really misses that time on the vaudeville stage, when he was a song and dance man".

You've probably seen illustrations by Minnesota based artist Stephen Gammell before and just didn't know it. They've a kind of controlled insanity, though this book is not half as violent to the senses as his truly disturbing "Old Black Fly". Instead, this story comes off as merely messy, but with a vibrant undertone. The colors in the pictures are often of a sweet rainbow filled spectrum. Grandpa's nose, a permanent red, sits prominently on his kind face.
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Format: Paperback
Song and Dance Man was about two grandchildren and their grandpa who used to be a song and dance man on the vaudeville stage. He takes the children up to the attic and shows them some of his old dances and costumes. He performs for them and the children feel just as if they were at the vaudeville stage watching this magnificent dance. This book shows the close relationship between grandparents and there grandchildren and is a wonderful book for children to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully illustrated story about three children and their grandfather who, whenever they come to visit, takes them into the attic, where he opens an old Vaudeville trunk, takes out his tap shoes, hat, cane, and other objects, and proceeds to entertain them with dance and magic tricks. The children clap and enjoy the show, and the book shows that there is a special bond between children and grandparents, who take the time to play with them, entertain them, and tell them about the past.

Where the story doesn't ring true for me is when the children say things like: "But as he turns off the attic light, Grandpa glances back up the stairs, and we wonder how much he really misses that time on the vaudeville stage, when he was a song and dance man." This seems like a very adult observation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a peep into the past, it's also the best of good old-fashioned values. A really warm, sweet, and simple story of just having fun - as a family, intergenerationally and without electronic noise. And the book is not heavy-handed, but the story sends a message about fun - and how we can all create fun without props and just our own voices and body and each other - is a good, and needed, one for both children and adults. I bought it for my 28-month-old and highly recommend this book - it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside and is just a good, clean, nice story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a K teacher. My kids enjoy this book during our family unit. My 3 yr old boy enjoys it as well. In a world full of copy only talent, this book allows for discussion about music, dance, performance, stage, arts, musicals, and of course, grandparents. The pictures are captivating making the kids want to investigate the pages closely, and they prompt questions. Again, it's a very sweet and meaningful story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book I read to my children when they were small and now that my daughter has a four year old she wanted it to read to her. How wonderful to have a book that stands the test of time. I could not find our old copy and I was so happy to find it still available for this next generation to enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
I don't always agree with Caldecott nominations and winners, but this time I'm really impressed. The story is fun, but the awesome thing about this book is definitely the illustrations. Younger children who are not sucked into stories and harder to hold the attention of will be mesmerized by the paintings.
Absolutely beautiful!
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