Emmas Turn to Dance

Lou Alpert, Author Charlesbridge Publishing $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-879085-00-8
This publisher's two inaugural releases center on four-year-old Emma, who, in the first title, plays on a swing suspended from a tree. Pumping higher and higher, she sails over the treetops and among the clouds and the stars, until the sound of her mother's voice brings her back to earth. Alpert's repetitive, rhyming verse is banal and forced: ``Soon I'm swinging above the trees / The air is warm, I feel a breeze. / A bird flies by singing of song / And I keep swinging short and long.'' Only slightly more involving is the second title, in which Emma finally gets the chance to take dance lessons, just like her older sister. Rendered in what might pass for a homespun style, the illustrations in the two books are lackluster and amateurish. Characters have shapeless, rubbery-looking limbs--disproportionate to their bodies--and all share the same glassy-eyed stare. In both text and art, a sense of realness and personality are virtually nonexistent. And the texts of both books contain an inexcusable shortcut: the use of ``thru'' in place of ``through.'' Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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