Knockin' on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates

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Clayton Bates was born in rural South Carolina in 1907, and from the age of five he just loved to dance. When he was 12, Clayton lost his left leg in a factory accident, but his dancing spirit would not die. He started to dance again using crutches, then a peg leg. Within a short time his peg leg matched the dancing ability of his other leg.

Peg Leg Bates could soon perform almost every known tap dance step, and he also developed unique steps all his own. He began dancing professionally in variety shows and vaudeville. As his fame grew, he was invited to dance at the Apollo Theatre, the Cotton Club, and the Ed Sullivan television show 21 times! He was an amazing show-stopper.

Peg Leg Bates never succumbed to self-pity or boasted about his success. He educated himself and became one of the world’s greatest tap dancers. “He was an inspiration to everyone he met because of his accomplishments in the face of adversity,” said Peg Leg’s daughter, and his most lasting achievement might just be the extraordinary example he set for us all.

Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates died in 1998.

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From the Inside Flap:

Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates was one of the legendary tap dancers of the twentieth century. As a young boy, Clayton loved to dance, but when he lost his left leg in a factory accident at age twelve, no one thought he would ever walk again, let alone dance. But Clayton's musical spirit was still alive. Soon he was dancing using crutches, then a peg leg. Within a short time his peg leg matched the dancing ability of his other leg.

Peg Leg Bates performed throughout the United States and Europe, winning the hearts of audiences with his unique style of dancing. He was an amazing showstopper and an inspiration to everyone he met. With determination and a love of life, he turned misfortune into triumph. His most lasting achievement might just be the extraordinary example he set for us all.

About the Author:

LYNNE BARASCH holds a B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design. She was inspired to write Knockin’ On Wood after learning about Peg Leg Bates from her daughter’s tap dance teacher many years ago. Barasch and her family live in New York City.

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9781600609800: Knockin' on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates

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ISBN 10:  1600609805 ISBN 13:  9781600609800
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 2012
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