Musical Chairs and Dancing Bears

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an ingenious move, Rocklin uses the game of musical chairs to stress the notion of counting down, from 10 to one. Ten bears, dapper dressers all, play the game at a party, which, judging from debut illustrator de Matharel's zippy gouaches, is definitely an A-list event. The musical interludes are matched with different dances, from polka (``UMP-pah-pah / UMP-pah-pah'') to tap (``STAMP hop-shuffle-step'') to the exotic Russian kazachok (``YUM pum pum pum / Yada-lada pum pum''). All the while, a visual clue to the next bruin to be ousted from the festivities appears in the top margin of each spread: a black-and-white drawing lines up the bears and their chairs, the first spread including all 10 bears and nine chairs and each successive spread dropping one of each. Unfortunately, the spread of ``five dancing bears'' repeats the preceding marginalia, so that the lineup numbers six bears--an error sure to frustrate the target audience, and the only discordant note here. Ages 3-7. (Sept).
School Library Journal
PreS-K-This picture book begins with 10 bears playing musical chairs. Each double-page spread depicts the players, primitively painted in flat colors, while above the illustration, small black-line drawings of the bears and the chairs reinforce the concept of subtraction. The game begins with a waltz, then switches to rock, square dance, bunny hop, etc. The familiar party activity seems a natural way to teach ``take away one,'' but it is not quite successful here. The cheerful bears, dressed in an odd assortment of garments, appear awkward or slapdash rather than childlike in their rendering. Some have humanlike hair while others don't, and their feet and paws are inconsistently drawn. The different dances detract from rather than add to the game. A square dance formation would be hard to maintain if the dancers were vying for chairs, and couple dances would be difficult if partners were in competition with one another. In order to tap dance, the previously barefoot bears suddenly wear shoes and the dance floor constantly changes color. Children will learn the number concepts at least as quickly and probably get much more enjoyment from playing musical chairs than from reading this book.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805023749
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years

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