cover image Dancin' in the Kitchen

Dancin' in the Kitchen

Wendy Gelsanliter. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23035-6

Readers will want to grab a wooden spoon and join the culinary conga line in this snazzy picture book. Dinnertime at Grandma's house is no staid affair. Anyone near the kitchen at six o'clock is pressed into duty. But work becomes play as the radio blasts music and all the cooks (adults, children and even the cat) begin to cut a rug. Before long the table is set with a feast of chicken and dumplings, green beans, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. First-time picture book authors Gelsanliter and Christian give new meaning to the phrase ""shake and bake"" with jaunty language and an infectious feel-good theme. Originally composed as song lyrics, the text features some catchy verses: ""Dancin' in the kitchen/ Everyone's a chef/ But if the baby gets the shortcake/ Then there won't be any left!"" But without the benefit of music, it is occasionally difficult to tell where the emphasis lies, and a few lines do not scan smoothly. Priceman (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!) clearly relishes her subject matter and employs an exuberant menu of media, including paint, crayon and collage in her bursting-with-energy compositions. Characters swirl and sway across color-drenched backgrounds and Priceman offers a perspective from every angle of the kitchen, including a cat's eye-view. All in all, highly appetizing fare. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)