Baby Danced the Polka

Citation: Beaumont, K. (2004). Baby Danced the Polka. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Ages: 2-5

Grades: PreK

Description: This ALA Notable Children’s Book features one un-sleepy baby who wants to skip nap time to dance with animals at the farm. 

Uses: Baby Danced the Polka could be used for a baby or toddler storytime, where children can come and manipulate the flaps of the book. It can also be used in a one on one setting, where an adult is reading directly with a young child. Librarians and teachers can also use this book in displays and in recommendations for parents/guardians who want books that will help them get their children moving. 

Review Sources

(2010). Kirkus Reviews. (Book Review).

(2004). Publishers Weekly. (Book Review).

Tags: parents and children, animals, dance

How Do You Wokka-Wokka?

Citation: Bluemle, E. (2009). How Do You Wokka-Wokka? Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Ages: 3 – 7

Grades: PreK – 2nd

Description: How Do You Wokka-Wokka? encourages readers to get moving and learn how to wokka along to the beat of the text through rhymes and images. Readers are invited to join the characters in the book for a neighborhood dance party. 

Uses: How Do You Wokka-Wokka?’s rhyming text and vibrant images make it perfect for a toddler or elementary storytime. This book can be used in a program about dance, and librarians/teachers can invite children to dance like the characters in the book while the book is being read, or when it is finished.

Review Sources:

Kirkus Reviews. (2009). How do you Wokka-Wokka? (Book Review). 

Publisher’s Weekly. (2009). How do you Wokka-Wokka? (Book Review). 

Tags: dance, rhyme, diversity

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Citation: McQuinn, A. (2011). If you’re happy and you know it! Cambridge, MA: Barefoot Books.

Ages: 4 – 8

Grades: PreK – 3

Description:  In this book, McQuinn covers all of the lyrics of the original If You’re Happy and You Know It song.  On each page, children from around the world dance along to the lyrics of the traditional rhyme. The end of this adaptation features children saying hello in their native language. 

Uses: McQuinn’s text can be used in a preschool or younger elementary storytime or program. Since many children know the rhyme, it would be easy to invite them to join in and move with the story as it is read.  It can also be read to small children who have not heard If You’re Happy and You Know It.  This could also be used in a program about music, or to perhaps entice a reluctant reader to read.

Review Sources: none found

Search Terms: dance, rhyme, nursery rhyme

Barnyard Dance!

Citation: Boynton, S. (1993). Barnyard dance!. Workman Publishing Co.

Ages: 1 – 4

Grades: PreK 

Description:  Boynton’s Barnyard Dance! is one of the best selling children’s books of all time. With it’s catchy rhymes, playful illustrations, and funky dance steps, Barnyard Dance! invites readers and listeners onto the farm for a hoedown. Readers can join the farm animals, including cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, and bunnies for a lively square dance.

Uses: Barnyard Dance! is a great book for teaching students about animals through a dance-centric storytime. Librarians/teachers can read the story and ask children to shake and move along with the different animals.

Review Sources:

(1994). Barnyard Dance! (Book Review). Parents.

Barnyard Dance! (Book Review). Publishers Weekly.

Tags:  rhyme, animals, dance, animal movements

Dance

Citation: Van Fleet, M. (2017). Dance. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Ages: 2 and up

Grades: PreK – Up

Description: In Dance, a baby chick learns how to dance from a friendly band of animals. The book includes jazzy rhymes such as “First thing Chickie Baby just wiggle your hips, and do the Hippopota Hula it goes like this:” that are paired with bright images of animals dancing. 

UsesWith its jazzy text and vibrant art, this interactive board book is sure to get kids dancing along! This book can be used in a program or storytime about dance or animals, and librarians/teachers can invite children to dance like each animal while the book is being read.

Review Sources:

Dance. (2017). Kirkus Reviews.

Tags: animals, dance, rhyme, children

Dinosaur Dance!

Citation: Boynton, S. (2016). Dinosaur Dance! New York, NY: Little Simon Books.

Ages: 1 – 6

Grades: PreSchool – 2nd

Description: Dinosaur Dance! encourages readers to dance along with prehistoric creatures in this interactive, fun board book.

Uses: This board book can be used by parents or teachers to promote physical activity among young readers. Readers can mimic the dances performed by the dinosaurs in the book, learn the names of different types of dinosaurs, and learn about colors.

Review Sources: none.

Search Terms: rhyme, animals, animal movements, dance,  differently-abled 

Shake My Sillies Out

Citation: Raffi. (1987). Shake My Sillies Out. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.

Ages: 3 months – 3

Grades: PreK

Description: In Shake My Sillies Out, animals and campers in woods at Camp Mariposa are struck by the urge to shake, clap, jump, waggle, and eventually go to sleep.

UsesThis book can be used by parents and teachers to engage children through interactive songs paired with movements. The rhythm, rhyming text, and repetitive phrases used throughout the book make it ideal for babies and toddlers.

Review Sources: none.

Tags: dance, rhyme, parents and children, animals

Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants!

Citation: Wallis, Q. (2018). Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Ages: 6 – 10

Grades: 1 – 5th

Description: In Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! Shai is a third-grader who loves to act, sing, and dance. When her teacher, Ms. Englert, signs their class up for a dance competition, Shai teams up with her best friend Emmie and classmate Rio. Shai initially plans to calm her competition jitters by just having fun. Until her rival, Gabby Supreme, challenges her to a bet. Now Shai has to win.

UsesThe book can be used for a storytime or program to get kids moving. Librarians/teachers can read the story and ask students to improvise the dances performed by characters in the story. Students can perform the “video game” or “crayon” dance.

Review Sources: none.

Tags: dance, diversity

Elephants Cannot Dance!

Citation: Willems, M. (2009). Elephants Cannot Elephants Cannot DanceDance! New York: Hyperion Books for Children.

Ages: 4 – 9

Grades: PreK – 2

Description:  In Elephants Cannot Dance! Piggie tries to teach Gerald how to dance.  Gerald is convinced that Elephants cannot dance, while Piggie is not. Gerald eventually tries to dance, and ends up doing the opposite of what Piggie instructs.

Uses:  Elephants Cannot Dance! is one of Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books that are ideal for beginning readers.  The book features Willems’ characteristic sparse images and text bubbles to tell the story.  Because the story is told through Elephant and Piggie speaking to each other, it is not the best choice for a traditional read-aloud during storytime. However, the plot would lend itself well to a storytime puppet show. Librarians and teachers can act out the story, and then invite children to dance. Librarians can even use the elephant prop as a way to engage students: librarians can instruct children to show elephant their best dance moves, or to teach elephant how to dance.  The book is also ideal for display because of the familiarity of Willems’ works. Familiarity with Willems’ works and style of writing will lead parents and children to be more comfortable checking out the work, and reading the get moving message.

Review Sources:

Elephants Cannot Dance!. (2009). Publishers Weekly, 256(20), 55.

Smith, R.L. (2009). Elephants Cannot Dance!. Horn Book Magazine, 85(4), 433 – 434.

Search Terms: elephants, pigs, dance

How Can You Dance?

Citation: Walton, R., & López-Escrivá, A. (2001). How Can You Dance? New York: Putnam’s.How Can You Dance?

Ages: 0 – 8

Grades: PreSchool – 3

Description:  With rhyming text, How Can You Dance? asks children how they move and dance, and then compares it to the movement of an animal. For example, the book asks “How can you dance as you swim in a pool? Dance like a frog, feeling fine, keeping cool.”  After each rhyming line, the book includes instructions on how to move like the animal example.

Uses:  With its rhyming text and question and answer style, this book is sure to get kids off their feet! The book can be used in storytime to get kids moving, and can be used with differently abled adults and children.

Review Sources:

Cooper, I. (2001). How Can You Dance? (Book Review). Booklist, 1897.

Jones, T.E., Toth, L., Charnizon, M., Grabarek, D., Larkins, J., & Ceraldi, G. (2001). How Can You Dance? (Book Review). School Library Journal, 47(7), 90.

Roback, D., Brown, J. M., & Britton, J. (2001). How Can You Dance? (Book Review). Publishers Weekly, 248(24),85.

Search Terms: rhyme, animals, animal movements, dance, diversity, differently-abled