cover image Song and Dance Man

Song and Dance Man

Karen Ackerman. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-394-89330-3

Grandpa, once a song-and-dance man on the vaudeville stage, is invigorated by a visit from three grandchildren. They climb the stairs to the attic where mementoes of the past glitter invitingly through the dust. The reminders of days gone by beckon to Grandpa; he wants to show his grandchildren what made a song-and-dance man great. Throwing open an old trunk, he arranges a stage while the children try on hats and attempt a few steps of their own. At last the mesmerizing show begins: Grandpa plays the banjo and performs tricks; he tells the oldest of jokes and laughs until his eyes water. This tender story is charmingly told; Gammell's illustrations, particularly his portrayal of Grandpa, sparkle with personality. By working ingeniously in shadows and silhouettes that hint at a younger and more vibrant Grandpa and by using small explosions of color, the artist further enhances the blending of past and present. Ages 3-7. (Oct . )