When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba

When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba

by Eileen Kurtis-kleinman, Diane Greenseid

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When her aunt, who loves Broadway musicals, is confined to bed with a sprained ankle, Sophie convinces the rest of the family to put on a show for her.  See more details below


When her aunt, who loves Broadway musicals, is confined to bed with a sprained ankle, Sophie convinces the rest of the family to put on a show for her.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bodacious Aunt Lena is one of Broadway's biggest fans. Every Wednesday finds her at a matinee, and later she does a star turn herself, reprising the show for her niece at dinnertime. When Aunt Lena is laid up after a spill and forced to miss her weekly entertainment, Sophie whips up a homespun vaudeville act to cheer her, roping in as co-conspirators her two uncles, Dutch and Solly, and her grandmother. Their song-and-dance number is a hit, and as a thank you, Lena takes Sophie on her next Broadway jaunt. Debut author Kurtis-Kleinman's dynamic vignette of a close-knit, extended family is well served by Greenseid's (Cat Parade!) flamboyant illustrations. Loosely set in the '40s, like the text, her acrylics picture Sophie and company as comfortably lumpy figures, almost as if they had been modeled from clay. And the eye-popping blend of purple, green, turquoise and orange fairly leaps off the pages, effectively transmitting the exuberance of this captivating crew. Ages 5-9. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Every Wednesday afternoon, Sophie's Aunt Lena attends a Broadway matinee. When Lena returns, she exuberantly reenacts scenes and songs as Sophie eats her dinner. One evening, in the middle of a "showstopping number," Aunt Lena slips and injures her ankle. Confined to bed, she misses the lights and sounds of Broadway most of all. After insuring the cooperation of her grandmother and her reluctant uncles, Solly and Dutch, Sophie plans a surprise Wednesday matinee for her aunt. They practice for several days, their efforts cumulating in a showstopping number of their own for the bedridden Lenasinging, dancing, and cracking jokes in true musical spirit. When Lena recovers, she has a surprise for Sophie. Greenseid's warm acrylics contain all the energy and excitement of a Broadway production, and characters practically burst from the pages. Readers will dance their own rhumbas after experiencing this joyous picture book.Tana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Kurtis-Kleinman's debut sets out to tickle children silly with the hijinks of narrator Sophie's lovable, irrepressible, show-biz-in-its-blood extended family.

Aunt Lena loves Broadway musicals, dressing up every Wednesday for the matinee, and then returning home to re-enact it for her niece. One Wednesday, she slips on a piece of cooked cabbage and falls on her "big rump"; this pratfall results in a sprained ankle and an extended stay in bed. Lena mourns in advance for the next matinee, which she'll have to miss (most readers will wonder, at this point, why her usual taxi ride into the city and a good pair of crutches won't see her through). Sophie decides that if Lena can't go to the show, the show will come to her, and talks her family into rehearsing a vaudeville show in the kitchen; its performance so cheers Aunt Lena that she leaps from bed (what?), wiggles into her purple matinee dress (what?), high heels (what?), and takes Sophie to a matinee—thereby defeating the entire point of the book. Greenseid's illustrations show frenetic Pillsbury Doughboylike people whooping it up in a book with a lot more heart than sense; readers who question the plotting too closely probably wouldn't like Broadway musicals either, another arena in which high- stepping enthusiasm compensates mightily for flaws in the storyline.

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Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Diane Greenseid's illustrations have appeared in numerous children's books, including When Aunt Lena did the Rhumba. Publisher's Weekly called her work on We Had A Picnic This Sunday Past "effervescent." School Library Journal said that the illustrations are "so energetic that they nearly leap off the pages." Diane lives in Venice, California.

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