cover image Mabel Dancing

Mabel Dancing

Amy Hest. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0746-3

Davenier's (Very Best [Almost] Friends) wispy watercolors portray a Fred Astaire world that may be far removed from the experience of most children but is no less inviting. Young Mabel's joie de vivre as she spins and twirls through these pages is infectious, and Hest's (Jessie Came Across the Sea) lilting text brims with small details that ground the book in a child's experience. Mabel's parents put her to bed before the guests arrive for the ""dancing party"" the couple is hosting, but ""the music had a way of floating up the stairs/ one, two, three/ one, two, three/ up and up the stairs."" Mabel and her dog eventually creep to the landing to watch the swirling dancers below (""swirl, two, three/ swoosh, two three""), and with her blanket cape, Mabel performs her own enthusiastic waltz step to the applause of the guests. Her parents carry her back to bed, where she soon drifts off to sleep. Mabel's insouciant joy and her triumph in the adult world are hard to resist. Ages 4-up. (May)