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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Book review: Dance Like a Pirate, by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 25, 2013

Dance Like a PirateThe blurb for this new lift-the-flap book Dance Like a Pirate is says it’s the perfect way to encourage kids to get active and to teach them body parts, but more than that, I think it’s a wonderful stimulus for imaginative play.

Each page has its own theme for dressing up.  The children can be fantasy characters like witches and wizards, fairies, mermaids and mermen or dragons; they can be  dancers, firemen, rock stars, or sailors; and they can be pirates, superheroes, royalty, clowns, or rabbits.   The brightly coloured pictures of children in costume is accompanied by verses in rhyming couplets with a strong, bouncing rhythm, perfect for children to join in:

Let’s leap like a dancer in tutu and tights,
Soaring across the stage like a bird in flight
So stretch your ankles and flex your calves,
Raise your hands and aim for the stars.

Glide and pirouette, slide and twirl,
Head held high, both arms curled.
Twist around and around like a top.
Do you feel dizzy when you stop?

Up, up and away! Let’s leap!
(underneath the flap) How high can you fly?

The body parts vocabulary is highlighted in bright colours, and at the back of the book there are labelled diagrams of a boy and a girl. (But they’ve omitted the label for calves!) No, they haven’t, but it’s printed in orange which makes it a little bit hard to see, see the author’s clarification below.  Sorry, Stephanie!

There are also, at the back of the book, small reproductions of some of the photos and drawings that Inspired the illustrator’s images.  The hopping rabbits, for example, draw on a photo of a mincing male dancer from the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet. Although I suspect that the inclusion of these images might ‘go over the heads’ of the target audience for this book, as one who is interested in art but has no skill at all in creating it, I found it fascinating, to see how the movements of the adult dancers in these images have been transformed.

I think prep Foundation and kindergarten teachers will love this book.  A few props in the dress-up box, and the children will have a great time!

Author and illustrator: Stephanie Owen Reeder
Title: Dance Like a Pirate
Publisher: NLA (National Library of Australia), 2013
ISBN: 9780642277794
Source: Review copy courtesy of the NLA


Fishpond:  Dance Like a Pirate
Book Depository: Dance Like a Pirate
Or direct from the NLA

2 Responses to “Book review: Dance Like a Pirate, by Stephanie Owen Reeder”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful review of my picture book Dance Like a Pirate. Just one small point of clarification: the label for ‘calf’ does appear in the book. It is on the image of the girl under the flap on the parts-of-the-body page – however, the word is in orange, which may make it a little difficult to read!

    Best wishes,
    Stephanie Owen Reeder

    • Lisa Hill said

      Hello Stephanie, thank you for creating such a terrific book:)
      I’m sorry I missed the label for ‘calf’, I’ll amend the review.

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