A dance of breath and toes that print a dance on the rug are two of the images Barbara Esbensen created for Dance with Me Poems. Dance and musical metaphors abound. The rhythms of a waltz or a march are played with words perfectly timed to roll off your tongue so that they make their own music. Raindrops on a roof become "My tap-dancing / high-stepping /hoofers of summer." Megan Lloyd's pictures provide a floating accompaniment to the musical, danceable, singable poems.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In 15 poems, all manner of dancers move to all sorts of rhythms and reveal unexpected images in the most delightful ways. Introducing the book with an invitation to partner the wind, Esbensen highlights such diverse subjects as bubbles, waves, and dust, and sees surprising choreography in everyday experiences. Even the visual arrangement of words on the page reinforces the verbal images and cadences that explore movement. Trees ``...lock crooked arms/and step across the lawn.'' Mirages ``...slide on invisible feet.'' Raindrops are ``...high-stepping/hoofers of summer.'' There are people here, too: a baby tapping a beat to her mirrored reflection, a woman dancing a staccato rhythm as she weeds the garden, two grandparents gliding to a melody of memories. Lightning takes the exuberant stance of swordsmen, and children shadow dance and race in the sun. Lloyd's lovely crayon and pastel drawings add a floating lightness to each page and suggest, rather than tell, what the poet imagines. As in Esbensen's Cold Stars and Fireflies (1984), Who Shrank My Grandmother's House? (1992), and Words with Wrinkled Knees (1987, all HarperCollins), readers will find new discoveries and fresh delight in repeated readings.-Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City