PRANCING DANCING LILY

Marsha Diane Arnold, Author, John Manders, Illustrator , illus. by John Manders. Dial $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-2823-3

As in Robert Kinerk and Steven Kellogg's Clorinda, a spirited heifer who dreams of being a hoofer takes center stage in this light-on-its-hooves tale about following one's muse. Milking time at Farmer Gibson's place finds the cows falling into an orderly line to enter the barn. All except Lily, who would rather prance around the pasture. Sensing that she doesn't fit in with the herd, Lily hits the road to "find a place for me/ And a dance that fits me perfectly." Her search for just the right beat leads her around the globe. From each interesting but ultimately unfulfilling locale, she pens rhyming notes to her Mamoo Rose and the gang (e.g., from Radio City Music Hall: "I kicked my hooves with so much flair/ The lights and tree fell everywhere"). Finally, a visit to the Caribbean has Lily dancing to the beat of her own drum—literally. She returns home having mastered the conga, and changes Farmer Gibson's milking line forever. Arnold's (Heart of a Tiger ) bovine fantasy, with its silly tone and quick-step pacing, will keep kids' attention. Along the way, a sprinkling of dance terms and geography tidbits add depth, as do the endpapers, which map Lily's route. Manders's (Clarence the Copy Cat ) watercolor-and-pencil compositions possess an appropriately free-line, madcap edge. Kids will especially enjoy scenes of Lily feverishly stamping a "feisty flamenco in Spain" and belly-dancing in Turkey. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)