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On fun, sunny summer days one bunny drummer plays . . . and the grasshoppers dance to the summertime hum.
Juliette MacIver branches out from her usual humorous rollicking rhyme to write a lyrical tale that celebrates luscious-sounding language in an uplifting story of music and movement. Nina Rycroft's lively illustrations conjure up the power of imagination to bring the scenes to magical life.
Grasshoppers dance is a great book which my daughter (20months old) has been enjoying endlessly over the last week. I also took this book to work with me (I'm an early childhood teacher) and read it to around 50 children over the week aged between 2-5years old. Majority of them have also enjoyed reading this book too, with the odd child who simply just isn't interested in books at the moment being the exception. As a parent/teacher I found this book quite a different style to read and thought the author used very different/unusual descriptive words which was rather refreshing I must say.
Before getting this book I was excited when I first saw the cover as I have a very strong background of dancing so am naturally drawn to books around dancing. Further to this I thought this would be awesome to share with my daughter (who naturally already loves music and dancing). I also thought she may like the grasshoppers as she is crazy about animals and insects at the moment - I got that part spot on and have been totally in love watching her with this book. Every time she reads it she gets this look of utter amazement on her face as she turns the pages and discovers something new. This to me speaks wonders of the amazing job that the illustrator has done. Beautiful pictures for a beautiful book that's for sure.
The illustrations of the grasshoppers are realistic looking which I really appreciate (as in the grasshopper looks like an actual grasshopper does) but still have quirky little extras (like wearing a tux and dress for example). I guess what I'm trying to say is the insects/animals etc weren't to over the top changed or made into cartoons which I liked. I also loved that each page is different, its like the grasshoppers are traveling through the different seasons as they continue to dance. Working alongside this is the authors words which are almost rhyming, or make you want to sing the words... a good tale that's for sure. The authors words match the illustrations perfectly and together they tie the whole package together in creating this great book.
I have to also add into this review that while some people reading this review might think that 20months (my daughters age) is quite young to be sharing a book like this with, this is a normal occurrence in our household. Being an Early Childhood Teacher who loves books I have always made sure my daughter is exposed to lots of good books and have read to her from birth. Subsequently she already "reads" book well above what some children would at her age and can maintain focus/interest in books for long periods of time. In saying this the older children I work with also had the same love for this book and have enjoyed sitting with it and reading it over and over again. A true test of a good book I feel - when it meets the needs of several different ages and suits a wide range of the audience. A book I am totally glad to have in my daughters library collection, I recommend you to go out and buy it today!
Grasshoppers Dance is a cute book which my children have really enjoyed listening to. It is quite different to a lot of the other books that we have enjoyed together. Miss 3 was very much engaged as she listened to the book being read to her. My husband also really liked reading the book to the children and it has been read by him many times now. It is always good when a particular book inspires my husband as he will then sit for ages and read to the children at bedtime. I enjoyed the book, however it wasn't one that is on my list of absolute favourites. This isn't to say that there is anything wrong with it, just that the standard of books I have been sharing with the children is so high lately and it is hard to have all the books on the 'favourites' list.
The illustrations of the grasshoppers are cute and quirky! The colours used on each page link in nicely to the words which are used. There is a definite seasonal feeling about each page in the book.
The text is quite lyrical and rhyme is used well throughout the book. My children enjoyed the way the grasshoppers are revisited throughout the book as well.
I have worked with children to record stories on to the computer. The children record their own sound effects and create their own music to go with it. I think that this book could work well for this sort of project as there are plenty of opportunities to link sound effects to the story. With the fact that seasons are a big part of the story, it would be an opportunity to discuss what sounds and moods of music could go with each season.
Mr 5's response to the book was "The Grasshoppers dance is lovely but not the second page from the end. I don't like the fact that the kingfisher smashed bugs to make a new sound. It is really lovely at the end. Also, it has kind of the same at the start." It is nice to see that the book brought out some comments by my son and made him think about what he liked and didn't like.
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"Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?"