Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman (Caldecott Medal Winner 1989)

Many of us have wonderful memories of the times we spent with our grandparents. If we're blessed perhaps we're still able to create new memories with them (my husband is!). Some of our coziest, fondest memories probably come from times we spent with Grandma or Grandpa, just one-on-one. Perhaps it was making a special craft project or going fishing together.

For the children in Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman the special memory is of Grandpa re-creating a time before TV, when he was on the vaudeville stage. While waiting for supper Grandpa and the children climb up the staircase to the attic. Opening an old trunk they discover memorabilia from Grandpa's time on the stage. The trunk becomes their seats. An old lamp is turned on, the shade angled like a spotlight. The recreation begins. Clapping enthusiastically children delight as Grandpa puts on a special show just for them.

My son delights with them. When Grandpa dances and the children clap and cheer he claps and cheers too! The great thing about the book is not only how thoroughly it engages you and your child, but how naturally it brings you back down from your excitement as Grandpa packs up the trunk, turns off the light, and everyone goes back downstairs. Despite its excitement, thanks to this natural sequence of events, it makes a surprisingly good bedtime story. It's good any time of the day!

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