cover image Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two

Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two

Patricia Lee Gauch. Philomel Books, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22688-5

The wiggly, petite dancer last seen in Bravo, Tanya continues to express her joie de ballet in this rousing encore. When Emily joins Tanya's dance class, everyone (including Barbara, Tanya's ballerina bear) recognizes that Emily is a prima ballerina: she's lithe and limber, able to execute even the difficult cabriole. At first Emily is ``always alone'' and Tanya ``always goes her own way.'' But when the two girls meet by chance in the park zoo, Tanya's imitative, free-spirited ostrich dance captivates Emily, who joins with Tanya to dance the flamingo, the panther, the giraffe and the ``wild leaping goat'' (otherwise known as the cabriole). From then on, the two enter into a special friendship. The disciplined Emily helps Tanya refine her movements, while Tanya brings laughter to Emily. As in the other Tanya stories, Ichikawa applies her dexterous, empathic humor to the text through lively watercolors. With a palette varied in brightness and tone, Ichikawa evokes mood and place, whether inside the dusky dance hall or in the crisp outdoors. Even more impressively, she conveys Tanya's state of perpetual motion and Emily's unusual grace. Ichikawa and Gauch, like the girls, partner each other beautifully. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)