“My mama had a dancing heart / and she shared that heart with me,” a young girl explains as she and her mom sit together on the front porch. Then the two glide across the front yard as her mom exclaims, “it feels like a tip-tapping / song-singing / finger-snapping / kind of day.” Together they share fun dancing moments as the seasons pass—“high stepping” in the rain of spring, “squish-squashing” in the sandy beach of summer, and “leg-lifting” among the falling leaves of autumn. In the final pages, the young girl has grown to a young woman who ties on her ballet slippers and performs on stage, reflecting afterward in a solitary moment backstage that she hears her mom approvingly repeating her opening refrain, “Let’s celebrate!” Gray’s text is flourishing and poetic. Her notable use of past tense gives a nostalgic, longing feel to the story, while her verb constructions are original and delightful: “I’d slip-swish behind,” and “we’d seashell-pile the windowsill.” Colón’s water color washed illustrations are moving, made surprisingly rich and deep with colored pencils and litho pencils, allowing for beautiful lighting and shadow that add to the nostalgic feel of this recollection of a mother’s vibrant love for life and dance.
Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.
Nothing yet! Let Raúl Colón know that you want to hear from them about their book.
Nothing yet! Let Libba Moore Gray know that you want to hear from them about their book.