Brianna, Jamaica, and the Dance of Spring

Overview

Brianna and Jamaica both want to be the butterfly queen in their spring dance performance. Instead they are chosen to be flowers while Brianna’s older sister, Nikki, is chosen for the lead. But just when Nikki seems to be the lucky one, she gets the flu and can’t dance her part. Will Brianna get a chance now? Once again Juanita Havill and Anne Sibley O’Brien portray a familiar scene in the life of a child with grace, gentleness, and a satisfying conclusion.

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Overview

Brianna and Jamaica both want to be the butterfly queen in their spring dance performance. Instead they are chosen to be flowers while Brianna’s older sister, Nikki, is chosen for the lead. But just when Nikki seems to be the lucky one, she gets the flu and can’t dance her part. Will Brianna get a chance now? Once again Juanita Havill and Anne Sibley O’Brien portray a familiar scene in the life of a child with grace, gentleness, and a satisfying conclusion.

When her sister Nikki gets sick, Brianna hopes to play her part as the butterfly queen in the Dance of Spring, but then another disaster strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This author/illustrator team works well together in portraying realistic children in an ethnically diverse setting." School Library Journal
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-After a handful of books featuring Jamaica, the title of this story signals a shift of the limelight to Brianna. The two young friends are to dance in a ballet recital, cast as a sunflower and a bumblebee. Both girls admire and slightly envy Brianna's older sister, Nikki, who is featured as the butterfly queen. Somewhat predictably, Nikki falls ill and Brianna, who has learned the coveted role, is prepared to step in. But, in a surprise twist, she also comes down with the bug and the show goes on without either of them. The narration then turns to the two sick girls at home on the night of the recital. When they are well, they get together with Jamaica to perform for their families. This author/illustrator team works well together in portraying realistic children in an ethnically diverse setting. Each child in the ballet class has a distinct physical appearance that suggests an individual personality. The girls' families are supportive and involved. The watercolor-and-pastel illustrations of the various places, dance movements, and costumes are affectionately real-not slick or romanticized. Readers who have come to enjoy the earlier books for their calm and sensible approach to the everyday dilemmas that Jamaica faces will certainly want to read this one. Newcomers will, too.-Dorian Chong, San Jose State University, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Havill and O'Brien team up for a sixth offering about Jamaica, the second in the series to include Jamaica's Asian-American friend, Brianna (Jamaica and Brianna, 1999, etc.). In this dance-themed story, the girls are enrolled in the same ballet school, along with Brianna's older sister, Nikki. For their spring recital, each girl is assigned a role in the "Dance of Spring," but repeated casting changes have to be made due to an epidemic of strep throat. Of course, the show must go on, with Jamaica moving a step up to the part of a bumblebee. Nikki and Brianna both get sick and have to miss the recital, but later, all three girls give an at-home performance of their dances for their attentive families. Jamaica plays a peripheral role in this entry in the series, which really focuses more on Brianna and Nikki and their disappointment in missing an important event that looms large at every dance school. The story offers a look at an issue that is hard for kids (and parents) to face: sometimes we get sick and have to stay home to recover, no matter how important the missed event. O'Brien's watercolor and pastel illustrations show cute, expressive children, but their dance-class attire and the positions of their legs and feet while dancing aren't exactly precise. Jamaica's fans will enjoy reading about another aspect of her life just the same, and further adventures for Jamaica and Brianna seem likely in this popular ongoing series. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618077007
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Juanita Havill is the author of many picture books including six other stories about Jamaica. She and her husband have two grown children and currently reside in Arizona.


Anne Sibley O'Brien has illustrated more than twenty books for children, including the Jamaica stories. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and cat in Maine.

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