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Dancing Boy

Dancing Boy

by Ronald Himler (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This wordless book opens with a little boy—carefree and naked—skipping down a rural road, and into a small town. There he is noticed only by the children, who, one by one, shed their clothes and dance along behind him. When the line of kids reaches the edge of town, the boy dances away. The town's children then return to whatever they were doing, and slip back into their clothes. Though the author's intention is probably whimsy, some readers may find this story sad, or even disturbing. The adults seem so detached from the children, and do not notice when their boys and girls undress and leave their sides. (A close inspection of the sequence of illustrations does show that the adults are frozen while the kids are gone, but this is not at all obvious to the casual reader.) An analogy drawn between the boy and the Pied Piper, on the flap of the book, is also rather—ahem—grim, since that fairy tale town lost all its children when they followed a stranger. The watercolor illustrations, though, are absolutely beautiful. 2005, Star Bright Books, Ages 3 to 6.
—Jane Harrington
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-The first image in this wordless story is of a naked blond boy dancing into a small American town. As he goes by the town's cooped up and bored children, they shed their clothes and their cares to follow this Pied Piper-like figure. The adults nearby are oblivious to the spectacle. Six children follow him but stop at the town's border while he continues on. The youngsters then return to their original places, which include a classroom, a baby carriage, and a park bench, to re-dress themselves and resume their previous activities. The last image of this visual palindrome is almost the same as the first, with the boy leaving town by the same road on which he arrived. The soft watercolors are done in a series of long, narrow panels to detail the children leaving their clothing and confinement behind while wide, full-page spreads show them freely cavorting. The art obscures aspects of their nudity that would cause serious objection. Youngsters, of course, will have their own reactions and many will find the nudity funny in a way the tone of the images does not seem to intend. The visual narrative may also fall flat for some children, since there is no change or growth for the characters left behind. While this is a provocative and artful reverie, it feels more like adult nostalgia for the innocence of childhood lost than a daydream in which young children would choose to participate.-Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Star Bright Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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