cover image Cha-Cha Chimps

Cha-Cha Chimps

Julia Durango, , illus. by Eleanor Taylor. . S&S, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86456-8

Durango's (Dream Hop ) tale stars a cast of childlike chimps who are more interested in dancing the night away than catching their zzz's. "Deep in the forest in the dim moonlight,/ ten little chimps sneak out for the night." They head to Mambo Jamba's, a hoppin' club where the chimps trade in their PJs for "boogie-woogie pants" and strut their stuff. Rhyming couplets chronicle the group's adventure as one by one they take new dance partners (and try new dance steps), and the refrain counts down from 10 to one ("Lion struts around/ like the royal king of cool./ But five minutes later/ he's a jitterbugging fool./ ee-ee-oo-oo-ah-ah-ah! / 7 little chimps do the/ cha-cha-cha"). Taylor's (Chicken in the Kitchen ) watercolors play a dual role: they cast a soft, moonlit glow on the dancers, while lending an extra vibe of excitement to their fancy footwork. Even when the music comes to a halt with the arrival of Mama Chimp, Durango still portrays the parent as someone who can appreciate a good time—after she tucks in her chimps, Mama dons her own dancing shoes. Ages 2-6. (Feb.)