cover image Boy, Can He Dance!

Boy, Can He Dance!

Eileen Spinelli, Judith Stuller Hannant. Four Winds, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-786350-5

Although not as affecting as their Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch , Spinelli and Yalowitz's latest collaboration blithely encourages readers to follow their dreams. Young Tony loves to do nothing but dance; his father, however, a brilliant chef, wants him to have a culinary future. The lad gamely chops carrots and peels potatoes at his father's restaurant, but inevitably ends up tripping the light fantastic around the kitchen. Luckily, Tony gets his big break before breaking too many plates: One of the evening's dinner-theater troupe can't make the show, and Tony triumphantly fills in, impressing his father at last. Spinelli follows the classic storyline of the underappreciated artist, yet commendably shows no antagonism between Tony and his patient, well-meaning father. Yalowitz's round-faced characters, whose skinny arms and legs grandly gesture from ballooning clothes, are rendered with precision and shaded in delicate, grainy textures. While this benign tale of youthful talent and parental approval provides few surprises, it's a very model of warmhearted optimism. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)