cover image GOT TO DANCE


M. C. Helldorfer, , illus. by Hiroe Nakata. . Doubleday, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32628-5

She's bored and stuck with her baby- sitter-grandfather on a hot summer day in the city. What's a girl to do? Listen to the rhythm of life—and dance. "Pancakes are flipping,/ old slippers slipping—/ got to dance, dance," writes Helldorfer (Hog Music ) as the girl and Grandpa make breakfast. She dances on the sidewalks, on her bed, wearing Mommy's fancy shoes and at the zoo (where her request that "Every-birdy dance!" does seem to prompt some feathered high-stepping). Riding the bus, the girl looks beneath the seats to see the passengers' "jig-jigging feet/ do[ing] a crosstown dance." And when Momma and Brother come home, they catch dance fever, too, and turn dinner into a "hamburger boogie!" Nakata (Tell Me My Story, Mama , reviewed Mar. 1) works in radiant colors—her yellows positively glow—and the splotchy, naïf-style watercolors bubble with pint-size spontaneity. Her young urban Terpsichore's bright round face and gravity-defying pigtails make for an exuberantly affectionate tribute to the boundless energy inside every happy child. Ages 2-5. (May)