My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

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9780531087701: My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

Captured by her mother's infectious love of dance, a young girl joyously follows her mother in a dance through the seasons, from a frog-hopping, hello spring ballet through a slow-motioned, snow-angel winter dance.

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About the Author:

Libba Moore Gray has been an actress, a dancer, and for twenty years a teacher of high school English and drama. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines, but "Miss Tizzy" is her first writing for children.

Ms. Gray's four children include a businessman, a ballerina, a teacher, and a professional clown. With her husband, Robert, she makes her home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Colon has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including the "New York Times" bestselling "Angela and the Baby Jesus" by Frank McCourt, Susanna Reich's "Jose! Born to Dance", and Jill Biden's "Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops"." "Mr. Colon lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

From School Library Journal:

PreSchool-Grade 3-In spring, summer, fall and winter, a mother leads her young daughter in dancing a celebratory ballet, a hymn to the season. When the girl is older, she is a ballerina and remembers that her mother gave her a dancing heart. Gray writes with her trademark hyphenated, onomatopoetic descriptions. In the winter, they are like "galoshes-galumphing" snowmen, and in the fall, Gray describes the "eye-blinking blue air" and the "leaf-kicking leg-lifting hand-clapping hello autumn ballet." The end of the story is sentimental and perhaps nostalgic beyond children's understanding. But what is clear is that the daughter credits her mother with her joy of movement. Also special is the closeness the two share whether sipping hot tea or cutting out paper snowflakes. Colon's etched watercolors in earth and muted jewel tones give the book an old-fashioned ambiance. Purples, roses, rusts, and greens are textured from the etching and the shading with color pencils, and the technique lends a sense of motion to the paintings, as does Colon's depiction of the dancers with their arched backs, kicking legs, and outstretched arms. Gray's writing lends itself to reading aloud, but independent readers will also enjoy it. Pair this with one of Patricia Lee Gauch's "Tanya" books (Philomel), which exhibit the same joy in movement, or with Shimmy Shake Earthquake (Little, 1992), a collection that is written with the same exuberant celebration of dance.
Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day School Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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