My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

Libba Moore Gray, Author, Raul Colon, Illustrator Scholastic $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-531-09470-9
Gray's (Small Green Snake) narrator shares a melodic remembrance of her mother, who welcomed each season with boundless enthusiasm-and bade her daughter to do the same: ""Bless the world/ it feels like/ a tip-tapping/ song-singing/ finger-snapping/ kind of day. / Let's celebrate."" The two danced barefoot in the spring rain, ran through the summer surf with balloons and kites tied to their wrists, performed a ""leaf-kicking/ leg-lifting/ hand-clapping/ hello autumn ballet,"" and lay on the ground to make snow angels in winter. Shifting to the present tense, the girl-now a ballerina-notes how these memories serve as inspiration as she leaps across the stage. Though her imagery tends toward the precious, Gray has crafted a genuinely affectionate, personal tribute to someone who embraced life wholeheartedly. Colon (Always My Dad) contributes sophisticated, inventively textured art, rendered in an intriguing combination of watercolor washes, etching, and colored and litho pencils. The pictures gracefully convey the chronic motion described in Gray's text; their muted, earth-toned colors lend a nostalgic feel. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-531-07142-7
Prebound-Glued - 32 pages - 978-0-613-28968-9
Library Binding - 978-0-531-08770-1
Paperback - 978-1-59112-543-3
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