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Review of Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

shea_ballet-cat-dance-dance-underpants2Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!
by Bob Shea; illus. by the author
Primary   Disney-Hyperion   56 pp.
2/16   978-1-4847-1379-2   $9.99

Dance diva Ballet Cat returns for her second early-reader performance (Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, rev. 7/15), and once again she’s paired with a reluctant partner/friend. Butter Bear likes dancing but draws the line at leaping. Ballet Cat can’t imagine why: “Super-high leaps are the best part of ballet.” Ballet Cat gamely accommodates her pal’s concerns…at first. When Butter Bear resorts to tried-and-true stalling tactics — she’s hungry/thirsty/has to go to the bathroom “in the woods” — normally sunny Ballet Cat cracks. Shea knows how to get maximum expression out of thick black lines. His characters’ pas de deux is choreographed on solid-color backgrounds with a minimum of props, giving new readers a leg up on the energetic and funny speech-bubble text. An audience of “underpants peepers” is what has Butter Bear grounded; Ballet Cat’s perspective — “If you dance with all your heart, the only thing they will see is the beauty of ballet” — 
lifts everyone’s spirits. Underpants are on full display, but “ballet conquers all!” (Shorts under tutus would help, too.)

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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