Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vladimir Radunsky
Illustrator:  Vladimir Radunsky 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-0689875823

A little boy is feeling a little embarrassed because instead of going out to play with his mother, his sibling, his dog, or his baby-sitter, he has to play with his grandmother every day. Of course he loves her dearly but she has this habit of doing peculiar things. Instead of walking quietly up the street and playing normal grandmotherly kind of games, this little boy’s grandmother goes in for leaping around, rolling on the ground, sliding up the street and acting in a really strange way.

Every day it is something new and every day the actions of those around her seem to inspire Grandmother to act the way she does. On Tuesday it is seeing the dog rolling on the ground. On Wednesday it is seeing Maria skating up the street the sets Grandma off. On Friday the sight of the big fan spinning away makes Grandma run “around it in circles” flapping “her arms like a butterfly.”

What everyone wants to know is why Grandma is driven to behave the way she does. What is it that makes her want to leap and swing, gallop and skate, tap dance and flap her arms. Then at last Grandma tells her grandson and all becomes clear – Grandma is a dancer.

Anyone who has a deep and abiding love for some sort of art form will have no trouble understanding Grandma and her uncontrollable urge to dance. Clearly the good lady, despite her grey hair and her plumpness, cannot do anything but dance, for dancing is in her blood.