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Dance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about dance?

Whether you love to dance in your kitchen, on the stage, in the studio, or at the grocery store, we’ve gathered the very best books for all of you dance lovers. Dance is a great medium to express yourself, get exercise, have fun, and be creative. Chassé over to your library (or to your online cart), grab as many of these titles as you can find, twirl back home, and boogie over to the couch to get reading about the joy of dance!

Top 10 Books About Dance

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Nutcracker book
#2
Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

Giraffes Can't Dance book
#3
Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The message of this book is wonderful—I love that it inspires confidence in oneself and not worrying about what others think of you, and embracing your differences.

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

Flora and the Flamingo book
#4
Flora and the Flamingo
Written and illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

Giant Dance Party book
#5
Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Betsy Bird knows all there is to know about kids and books. She is the New York Public Library’s youth collections specialist, she writes a blog hosted by School Library Journal, and has served on the Newbery Medal committee. Now Betsy Bird has written a children’s book of her own, Giant Dance Party. In this rollicking picture book, a group of giants shows up at Lexy’s door wanting dance lessons. After some initial hesitation, Lexy is happy to teach them, and her dance classes end with all her students—as well as Lexy herself—overcoming their fears and putting on a boogying performance. Brandon Dorman, an award-winning artist whose work can be found in The Wizard, and on the covers of Fablehaven and Goosebumps, brings the giants and their dance moves to life with his full-color illustrations.

Barnyard Dance! book
#6
Barnyard Dance!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I have fond memories of being read this as a child, reading it myself to younger siblings and now reading it with my own child. Boynton’s illustrations are delightful as always, and this one has perfect cadence and just the right amount of silliness.

Everybody sing along—because it’s time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of board books, here is BARNYARD DANCE, with Sandra Boynton’s twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun, BARNYARD DANCE features lively rhyming text and a die-cut cover that reveals the wacky characters inside. Guaranteed to get kids and adults stomping their feet. The “Barnyard Dance! song, performed by John Stey, is available for download.

Swan book
#7
Swan
Written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Anna Pavlova, a ballerina who came from nothing and worked so hard to achieve her dreams, then traveled to share the joy she found through dance with others.

“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.

Zombelina book
#8
Zombelina
Written by Kristyn Crow and illustrated by Molly Schaar Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young zombie gives a haunting performance in her first ballet dance recital.

Let's Dance, Little Pookie book
#9
Let's Dance, Little Pookie
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This popular Sandra Boynton read is definitely a fun one. I like that readers can follow along with the dance moves and that it encourages dancing how you like best. I also really enjoy the fun, silly, and lyrical text. :)

Let’s do the Pookie Shimmy (Oh, yeah!) in this toe-tapping board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Say hey, Little Pookie! You’re a wonder to see. Come on, my little Pookie, Won’t you dance with me? Are you ready to do the piggy-piggy shake? Then put on your snazzy sneakers and join the dance party as Little Pookie boogies to a Pookie-Pookie beat. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this fabulous story proves that every Little Pookie loves to shimmy!

The Twelve Dancing Princesses book
#10
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Written by Marianna Mayer and illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For generations, children have loved the enchanting story of the twelve beautiful princesses and the handsome young lad who solves the mystery of their tattered shoes. Now Marianna Mayer brings to life all the splendor and romance of this beloved classic, from the dazzling forests Of silver, gold, and diamonds to a twilight palace where the bewitched princesses dance to hypnotic music. And award-winning artist Kinuko Craft add, her own magic: a visual feast of exquisite, jewel-like paintings that sweep across the pages. Together, Mayer and Craft have created an unforgettable world that readers of all ages will want to return to again and again.

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Books About Dance and The Nutcracker

Nutcracker book
#1
Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

The Nutcracker (Musical Books) book
#2
The Nutcracker (Musical Books)
Written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Dan Taylor
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Push, pull, and slide into the holiday magic of The Nutcracker! Bring the classic Nutcracker story to life by pulling the tabs, spinning the wheels, and sliding the characters in First Stories: The Nutcracker. Join Clara and the Nutcracker as they go on a magical journey in this beloved tale based on the beautiful ballet. With movements on every page, youngsters will love this engaging introduction to the holiday classic.

The Nutcracker book
#3
The Nutcracker
Written by Patrick Regan and illustrated by Natasha Kuricheva
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Experience the magic of Tchaikovsky’s classic tale with this lavishly illustrated keepsake book. The Nutcracker is a magical story beloved by generations of children. Follow along as enchanted toys spring to life, dancers glide and twirl, and a little girl learns that kindness is the greatest gift of all. This familiar and charming tale combines with Natasha Kuricheva’s lavishly painted illustrations to create a keepsake book for the whole family to enjoy.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Nutcracker - New York Times bestselling artist and Caldecott Honor winner Susan Jeffers has created a Nutcracker as only she can—with lavish illustrations, magnificent detail, a glitter-brushed cover, and enchanting holiday scenes on every page. This is The Nutcracker as you’ve never seen it before! Makes a lovely keepsake and gift. Join Marie, Fritz, and the intriguing Nutcracker himself on a magical Christmas Eve adventure. Behold the frightful Mouse King, the elegant Sugar Plum fairies, and the entire Land of Sweets in this dazzling, gorgeously illustrated holiday classic. With spare text based on the story in the ballet, this book offers a front-row seat to the enthralling tale that is a perennial favorite of adults and children alike. And for Susan Jeffers fans looking for extra content, an author’s note is included at the end of the book, in which she explains what inspired her to turn this holiday tradition into a show-stopping picture book.

  2. Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book - The Ballerina of the Realms dances on every page of this magical book! From Disney’s all-new live action film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, follow the elegant Ballerina of the Realms as she dances center stage in this artistic pop-up book, celebrating each of the unique and picturesque Four Realms. This beautiful format is a perfect holiday gift for fans of this classic tale, full of colorful characters and no shortage of surprises.

  3. The Nutcracker - Adults as well as children look forward to attending an annual performance of The Nutcracker. To sweeten the anticipation and prolong the joy — or just to establish a lovely tradition—settle in with this charming retelling of a young girl’s dreamy visit to the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy. The story is enhanced with magnificent color illustrations created especially for this edition by the late award-winning artist Don Daily. This high-quality, handsomely produced volume is destined for the permanent home library.

  4. The Nutcracker (Little Golden Book) - A Christmas classic returns to Little Golden Books, with beautiful new artwork by a beloved Golden Books illustrator! The Nutcracker is back in print as a Little Golden Book, with all-new illustrations by Sheilah Beckett, who started illustrating Golden Books in the 1950s. This lovely retelling of the famous ballet will be a perfect holiday gift for any child who loves the ballet, Christmas stories, and fairy tales!

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Books About Dance and Music

Giant Dance Party book
#1
Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Betsy Bird knows all there is to know about kids and books. She is the New York Public Library’s youth collections specialist, she writes a blog hosted by School Library Journal, and has served on the Newbery Medal committee. Now Betsy Bird has written a children’s book of her own, Giant Dance Party. In this rollicking picture book, a group of giants shows up at Lexy’s door wanting dance lessons. After some initial hesitation, Lexy is happy to teach them, and her dance classes end with all her students—as well as Lexy herself—overcoming their fears and putting on a boogying performance. Brandon Dorman, an award-winning artist whose work can be found in The Wizard, and on the covers of Fablehaven and Goosebumps, brings the giants and their dance moves to life with his full-color illustrations.

Baby Loves to Boogie! book
#2
Baby Loves to Boogie!
Written and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Goodfather

In Baby Loves to Boogie, it’s fun to see different animals doing all kinds of different dances that seem to match each animal very well. But what the little readers around our home really love to see is baby boogying!

Boogie on down with baby in this lively companion to the board book hit Baby Loves to Rock! The chicks can do kicks, and the toucan can cancan. But who loves to boogie? Filled with funny puns and rhymes about a variety of comical animals getting groovy, this board book will delight dancers of all ages. Wednesday Kirwan’s humorous text and colorful illustrations ensure that this adorable follow-up to the board book hit Baby Loves to Rock! will win any dance-off.

Music book
#3
Music
Written and illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

We’re amazing! We can make music, dress up, sing and dance.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Feel the Beat - An irresistible book of poems about dancing that mimic the rhythms of social dances from cha-cha to two-step, by the acclaimed author of Mirror Mirror Marilyn Singer has crafted a vibrant collection of poems celebrating all forms of social dance from samba and salsa to tango and hip-hop. The rhythm of each poem mimics the beat of the dances’ steps. Together with Kristi Valiant’s dynamic illustrations, the poems create a window to all the ways dance enters our lives and exists throughout many cultures. This ingenious collection will inspire readers to get up and move! Included with the book is an audio CD of the author reading each poem accompanied by original music from composer Jonathon Roberts.

  2. Monster Boogie - Laurie Berkner, “the queen of children’s music” (People), pairs the lyrics of her infectious hit song with Ben Clanton’s whimsical illustrations in this groovy and adorable picture book—a must-have for fans of Laurie, dancing, and all things monstrous! I’m the biggest monster that you’ve ever seen! My eyes are purple and my teeth are green. I’m big and I’m scary, you know what I mean? And this is what I like to do… Boogie away those bedtime fears and embrace your inner monster with Monster Boogie, based on Laurie Berkner’s irresistibly fun song and featuring lively, playful artwork by Ben Clanton! I do the monster boogie. So can you! Rraaaahhh!

  3. Boom! Boom! Boom! - Take a rhythmic musical journey round the world with this fun rhyming picture book! “Two gorillas and their chum. At the sound the people come. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” As the trio dances to the music of the drums, moving and grooving through the jungle and into the city, they’re joined by a host of other animals and people who can’t resist the infectious rhythm. The delightful rhymes and lively, colorful pictures will soon have kids jumping in, too!

  4. The Log Driver's Waltz - Acclaimed illustrator Jennifer Phelan reimagines Wade Hemsworth’s iconic log driver in a beautiful, contemporary picture-book adaptation of a beloved Canadian classic. If you ask any girl from the parish around What pleases her most from her head to her toes She’ll say I’m not sure that it’s business of yours But I do like to waltz with a log driver Based on the perennially popular Canadian folk song and animated short film of the same name, The Log Driver’s Waltz showcases a spunky, independent young woman whose parents are keen for her to marry. The town’s well-to-do doctors, merchants, and lawyers try to impress her, but it’s the humble log driver—with his style, grace, and joie de vivre—who captures her attention. When she and the log driver finally meet on the dance floor, their joy leaps off the page. With homages to the original film, and celebrating the flora, fauna, and folk art of this great land, The Log Driver’s Waltz brings a hallmark of Canadian childhood to life.

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Books About Dance and Ballet

Love Is a Tutu book
#1
Love Is a Tutu
Written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I really love this book, though I may be slightly biased as I grew up dancing. The illustrations are my favorite!!! I love that this book includes dance terminology and vocabulary, which of course adds some French exposure. :)

This beautifully designed and playfully illustrated novelty board book is the perfect starting point for tiny ballerinas and parents alike. Sweet and spare rhymes prance across the pages, engaging the reader with real ballet terms and plenty of pink. Parents and toddlers together will sigh Bravo as they turn off the light.

The Sleeping Beauty book
#2
The Sleeping Beauty
Written by New York City Ballet and illustrated by Valeria Docampo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this stunning follow-up to the bestselling holiday classic The Nutcracker, The New York City Ballet presents another timeless tale for a modern ballet lover with The Sleeping Beauty. The New York City Ballet presents classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish, modern sensibility. This lavishly illustrated book follows the storyline, choreography, costumes, and sets of the New York City Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. With beautiful art illustrated by Valeria Docampo, this magnificent retelling is a perfect gift for an aspiring ballerina or any family who wants to add this enchanting fairy tale classic to their library.

I Dreamed I was a Ballerina book
#3
I Dreamed I was a Ballerina
Written by Anna Pavlova and illustrated by Edgar Degas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Every girl remembers her first trip to the ballet: the anticipation beforehand, the orchestra’s first notes, the ethereal beauty of the ballerinas. This is a tale of one such girl who was caught up in ballet’s mesmerizing spell and became one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.

In a story drawn from her memoirs, Anna Pavlova describes her first visit to the ballet to see the Sleeping Beauty. With simple, childlike language, she captures her love for her mother, the splendor of the ballet, and the moments that changed her life. The words are matched with paintings, pastels, and drawings of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, to give this story all the magic of a fairytale.

Complete with short biographies of Pavlova and Degas, I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina will delight any child with ballerina dreams.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Dance Like Starlight - Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by. But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star. In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.

  2. Firebird - In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

  3. The Sound Orchestra: The Nutcracker - Follow Clara on a magical Christmas adventure in this retelling of the classic ballet story. Watch the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King, meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and journey to the Land of Sweets, where wonder and excitement await… Including music from: ‘The Dance of the Reed Flutes’, ‘The Waltz of Flowers’ and ‘The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.

  4. The Story Orchestra, The Sleeping Beauty - In this retelling of the classic ballet story, bring Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty to life by pressing the musical notes on each page. Join the King and Queen as they throw a party for their new baby, Princess Aurora. But when a terrible guest arrives and places a curse on princess, the kingdom must find the one special person who can defeat it… Read the story and then turn to the back of the book to read about the music clips. The third title in the Story Orchestra series, following on from The Four Seasons, and The Nutcracker, is for readers 4 and up.

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Books About Dance and Christmas

The Nutcracker book
#1
The Nutcracker
Written by New York City Ballet and illustrated by Valeria Docampo
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Now available in a beautiful board book edition, the New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous board book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday keepsake for every family’s bookshelf.

The Nutcracker: A BabyLit Dancing Primer book
#2
The Nutcracker: A BabyLit Dancing Primer
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

BabyLit(R) is a fashionable way to introduce your baby to the world of classic literature With this colorfully illustrated board book version of the classic Christmas-time ballet, Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver present a new holiday favorite, The Nutcracker: A BabyLit(R) Dancing Primer. This board book features soldiers marching, mice prancing, snowflakes swirling, dolls bending, and buffoons skipping as a way to introduce basic movement terms to babies and toddlers. Jennifer Adams is the author of many books including Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen and the popular Edgar the Raven series. Jennifer works as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alison Oliver runs Sugar design studio. Her design portfolio includes everything from logos to packaging and product design for clients such as Chronicle Books, Citibabes, and Aerie. She lives in New York.

First Stories: Nutcracker book
#3
First Stories: Nutcracker
Written by and illustrated by Dan Taylor
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Push, pull, and slide into the holiday magic of The Nutcracker! Bring the classic Nutcracker story to life by pulling the tabs, spinning the wheels, and sliding the characters in First Stories: The Nutcracker. Join Clara and the Nutcracker as they go on a magical journey in this beloved tale based on the beautiful ballet. With movements on every page, youngsters will love this engaging introduction to the holiday classic.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Nutcracker - In this retelling of the original 1816 German story, Godfather Drosselmeier gives young Marie a nutcracker for Christmas, and she finds herself in a magical realm where she saves a boy from an evil curse.

  2. Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital - It’s Christmas—and for Ballet Kitty, that means The Nutcracker! She’s going to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy, her favorite role from the ballet, at a real recital. Kitty’s so excited she can hardly wait. But when her very best friend wants to dance the same solo, suddenly the show isn’t fun anymore. This charming tale of friendship, ballet, and the thrill of being onstage will enchant little ballerinas everywhere.

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Books About Dance and Friendship

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show book
#1
Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola and illustrated by Jim Lewis and Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship! Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Tallulah's Tap Shoes book
#2
Tallulah's Tap Shoes
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

It’s summer, and Tallulah is excited about going to dance camp. She’ll get to take plenty of ballet classes. She’ll have to take tap, too, and she’s NOT excited about that. She’s never taken tap before, so she’ll be a beginning beginner. And she’s right—tap class is not much fun. Plus there’s a girl her same age who’s maddeningly good at tap dancing. But that same girl isn’t very good at ballet . . . could it be that she and Tallulah have something in common?

Andy & Sandy And The Big Talent Show book
#3
Andy & Sandy And The Big Talent Show
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis.

Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship!

Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Daniel and the Nutcracker (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood) - A new generation of children love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! The show must go on as Daniel Tiger and his friends dance the Nutcracker ballet in this adorable board book with a padded cover and holographic foil! It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for Daniel Tiger fans! Daniel Tiger can’t wait to see his friends Katerina Kittycat and Prince Wednesday perform together in the Nutcracker Ballet! But when he arrives at the Enchanted Garden, Daniel learns that Prince Wednesday is sick and can’t dance! Can Daniel step in and save the show?

  2. Jack & Louisa Act 2 - Cast opposite each other when their middle school stages a production of Guys and Dolls, Jack and Lou find their ambitions of stardom threatened by a mysterious new director, a Broadway-level dance call and a new stage competitor.

  3. Lights, Music, Code! - When Maya starts spending a lot of time with Maddie, an old friend, her friends from coding club worry she won’t finish her part of the project, coding the lights and music for the winter dance.

  4. Ellen Tebbits - Ellen Tebbits has an embarrassing secret that she’ll never share with anyone. That is, until she meets Austine—and discovers that Austine has the exact same secret! Soon the girls are best friends who do everything to­gether—attending dance class, riding horses, and dodging pesky Otis Spofford, the neighborhood troublemaker. But then Ellen does something terrible . . . and now Austine isn’t speaking to her. Ellen desperately wants her best friend back. How can she show Austine how sorry she is? Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary brings her warm humor to this funny story of a girl readers will recognize—and love.

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Epilogue

32 books that are just too good to leave off of our dance list.

  1. Miss Bunny's Shapes - B is for Bookworm - This colorful, lift-the-flap book talks about different shapes, dancing, and partying at the bunny hop. The text rhymes, and I like that the illustrations have a lot of different details and shapes on the pages.

  2. Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop! - Llama Llama TOUCH! Llama Llama TAP! Llama Llama Red Pajama CLAP, CLAP, CLAP! Can you move like Llama Llama? Watch Llama hop, stretch, touch, and tap in this third board book by Anna Dewdney. Then you can do it, too!

  3. I Can Dance - The Book Snob Mom - While the cover might be classified as “girly” by some (don’t get me started on the boy books/girl books discussion!), the inside is packed with examples of all types of dance (disco, gymnastics, break-dancing, synchronized swimming, and tap dancing) being executed by both little boy and little girl dancers, so there’s plenty of gender diversity going on. The holes for sticking your fingers through to be the dancers legs on each page are fun, both at the baby stage where they try to grab your fingers and giggle as you wiggle them around and as munchkins get older and can do it themselves. The verdict—cute interactive book for getting some of the wiggles out!

  4. Chicken Dance - Determined to win tickets to an Elvis Poultry concert, hens Marge and Lola enter the Barnyard Talent Show, then, while the ducks who usually win the contest jeer, they test out their abilities.

  1. Dance - From the #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book creator Matthew Van Fleet comes a laugh-out-loud, jazzy story of a little baby chick who learns how to dance from a friendly band of animals who know all the right moves! Shake, shake, shake, shimmy, shimmy, shake! You can dance! Young readers will delight in the charming art, jazzy text, and in pulling the five sturdy pull tabs to make the different animals bounce, shake and bop as they dance to the Hippoppta Hula, Gator Mashed Patater, and more! Listen and dance to the song at VanFleetBooks.com. Get your dancing feet ready!

  2. The Jellybeans and the Big Dance - Friendship comes in many flavors in the launch of a charming new series by a bestselling author and illustrator team! Laura Numeroff, Nate Evans, and Lynn Munsinger bring readers a fun new group of sweet friends. Just as jellybeans are different colors and flavors, each character in this heartwarming friendship story has a personality and pizzazz that young readers will love. Emily loves to dance and can’t wait to meet the other girls in her class, who are sure to be just like her. But instead she meets Nicole, a tomboy who would rather be playing soccer; Bitsy, who loves arts and crafts; and Anna, a shy bookworm who has no interest at all in dancing. Realizing that they have to work together to make their dance recital a success, the girls learn to love each other’s differences and strengths as they band together and name their group the Jellybeans! The latest picture book by beloved bestselling authors Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans is as sweet as sugar and features four adorable characters that all children will relate to. With joyful illustrations by Lynn Munsinger that dance off the page, The Jellybeans and the Big Dance will inspire readers to dance, prance, and boogie-woogie to the beat of their own drum.

  3. Dancing in the Wings - Sassy tries out for a summer dance festival in Washington, D.C., despite the other girls’ taunts that she is much too tall.

  4. Cockatoo, Too - B is for Bookworm - This book just makes me laugh! I love the word play, and I love how silly everything sounds reading it aloud. The illustrations are cute, too! I recommend this for older children, though, as younger children won’t understand the play on words.

  1. Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina - What starts out as dancing school just for Dad quickly turns into a ballet class for Nancy’s whole family. Fans of Fancy Nancy will delight in learning to plié, pirouette, and jeté with Nancy as she demonstrates all of the positions she’s learned in ballet class. From the New York Times bestselling team Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, who have entertained millions of girls and boys with the Fancy Nancy series.

  2. Angelina Ballerina - A little mouse named Angelina becomes the famous ballerina Mademoiselle Angelina after much practice at Miss Lilly’s Ballet School.

  3. Ballet Boy - This uplifting novel follows Mitchell to third grade when he becomes a ballet danseur. He is under attack by his peers for choosing to do ballet.

  4. Duck & Goose, Let's Dance! - “Duck and Goose have fun dancing together as friends”—

  1. Thursday's Children - As he tags along to his spoiled sister’s ballet classes, Doone discovers and develops his own rare and special talents.

  2. On stage, please - A young girl begins serious training for a career as a professional dancer.

  3. The Nutcracker - Each December, generations of children delight in the ballet version of the quintessential Christmas story The Nutcracker. But few have had the opportunity to revel in the richly detailed original tale. Now, in this glorious new edition, acclaimed children’s book author and editor Janet Schulman returns to the source’E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice.” Here we meet Marie, her Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and all the other delightful characters, and we discover the answers to questions left unanswered by the ballet, like why the Nutcracker and the King of Mice were enemies.

  4. Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance - Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want…well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain’s heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises. Includes bonus material! - Sneak peek chapter from the next book in the Ivy + Bean series Ivy and Bean What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

  1. The Nutcracker - The New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous picture book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this colorful celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday tradition for every family’s bookshelf.

  2. The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet - Celebrate the season with one of the most beloved holiday stories of all-time, The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet. The perfect addition to your Christmastime! Featuring glorious illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winner, Diane Goode, this beautiful and adventurous classic tale will dance its way into your family’s holiday traditions for years to come.

  3. Ballet Shoes - In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s tales of triumph. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars! Originally published in 1937.

  4. The Nutcracker - Christmas just isn’t Christmas without The Nutcracker! This beautiful book, which includes a fully orchestrated CD of the score, invites children to dance, prance, and relive the ballet long after the tree comes down. Peter Malone’s exquisite illustrations capture all the magic of The Nutcracker’s most memorable scenes: the Christmas Eve party, Godfather Drosselmeyer’s spellbinding visit, and the ferocious battle between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Marie’s journey to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes her with exuberant dancers from around the globe—and toothsome desserts—springs to life as never before. Stephanie Spinner’s lyrical text, Peter Malone’s jewel-like artwork, and a sparkling performance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music make this a gift to inspire even the very youngest dancer.

  1. The Nutcracker of Nuremberg - Based on the classic Christmas story by E. T. A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker of Nuremberg is the magical adventure of Marie Stahlbaum’s favourite toy, the Nutcracker, who battles the nefarious Mouse King in battle and takes the reader on a wonderful adventure, into a magical land of dolls. Dumas’s version was adapted by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky into the famous ballet The Nutcracker. Contents include: Part I: The Story of the Nutcracker of Nuremberg, Part II: The Story of the Nut Krakatuk and the Princess Pirlipate, and Part III: The Story of Marie and the King of the Toys. This wonderful story is accompanied by the beautiful silhouettes cut by Else Hasselriis. Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was a famous French writer. He is best remembered for his exciting romantic sagas, including The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Despite making a great deal of money from his writing, Dumas was almost perpetually penniless thanks to his extravagant lifestyle. His novels have since been translated into nearly a hundred different languages, and have inspired over two hundred motion pictures. Pook Press celebrates the great ‘Golden Age of Illustration’ in children’s classics and fairy tales- a period of unparalleled excellence in book illustration. We publish rare and vintage Golden Age illustrated books, in high-quality editions, so that the masterful artwork and story-telling can continue to delight both young and old.

  2. The Nutcracker: The Original Holiday Classic - Publishing just in time for the forthcoming 2018 film adaptation, this edition of The Nutcracker is sure to enchant readers young and old. On Christmas Eve, seven-year-old Marie and her eight-year-old brother Fritz anxiously await their Christmas gifts. When their godfather—a clock builder and toymaker—arrives, he unveils an ornate clockwork castle adorned with whirling figurines for the children. While Fritz plays with the clock, Marie is taken aside and given another gift—a nutcracker. After Fritz grabs the nutcracker from Marie and breaks its jaw by cracking too many nuts, their playtime ends and they head off to bed. When the clock strikes twelve, magic makes its way into this enduring tale and an epic battle ensues. This timeless classic, featuring all-new full-color and black-and-white illustrations by artist Arkady Roytman and abridged text by Gina Gold, is the perfect story to get anyone in the holiday spirit!

  3. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - Marie kept gazing at the dear little man, whom she had loved at first sight, and she saw what a kind face he had. His pale-green, slightly protuberant eyes expressed nothing but friendliness and goodwill. And the neat white cotton-wool beard on his chin suited the little man very well, setting off the sweet smile of his bright-red mouth. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is well-loved by many as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, performed as a Christmas spectacle the world over. The ballet was based on a French retelling of the story, and Hoffmann’s German original is rarely translated in its entirety. In addition to telling the familiar tale of the gentle young girl and her love for the enchanted Nutcracker, who leads the toy soldiers in a battle against the wicked Mouse King and whisks her away to the Land of Toys, the original text also includes the story of the cursed Princess Pirlipat and the hard nut, which explains the background of how the poor Nutcracker came to be. This sumptuous volume, published to celebrate the bicentenary of the tale’s first publication, brings together the complete, unabridged German classic in a new translation by the eminent translator Anthea Bell, with more than 70 breathtaking illustrations by the award-winning artist Robert Ingpen.

  4. The Nutcracker: The Original 1853 Edition With Illustrations - Sometimes you just want to have the original. This is one of the earliest known English translation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic children’s tale, “Nutcracker and Mouse-King,’ which was penned in German in 1816. While Alexandre Dumas, père was making this story famous in France, this translation by Mrs. St. Simon was making it popular in the English-speaking world. The stage was set for Tchaikovsky to bring the story into the 20th century in his famous ballet. This edition carefully re-constructs the text of the 1853 edition, and also includes the original woodcut illustrations that accompanied it. At Christmas, you want to read aloud to your children the same stories that delighted countless other children over the decades and centuries over the holidays. If that is what you’re looking for, this edition is for you. Or, if you just trying to fathom what on earth Tchaikovsky is portraying in his ballet, reading an early English translation that aimed to be faithful to the original is a great start.

  1. The Nutcracker - Hoffmann’s classic Christmas fairy tale, immortalized by Tchaikovsky’s ballet, is brought to life by the gorgeous contemporary artwork of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka, and is the perfect holiday gift for adults and children alike. The Nutcracker captures, better than any other story, a child’s wonder at Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie excitedly await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvelous gifts he brings for them every year. When Marie discovers a rather curious nutcracker doll amongst the presents, she suddenly finds herself caught up in an age-old battle and ultimately transported to a magical world of sugar-frosted castles, chocolate kings, and true love. This cloth-bound edition combines the charm of Hoffmann’s original eighteenth-century tale with the freshness of Sanna Annukka’s gorgeous illustrations in this striking keepsake edition that will be treasured and reread by you and your loved ones for years to come.

  2. The Nutcracker - On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree - the Nutcracker

  3. Max - ALA Notable Children’s Book International Reading Association Classroom Choice A Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies Max is a crack baseball player. Saturday mornings he walks with his sister, Lisa, to her dancing school on his way to the park for his weekly game. One morning Max is early, and Lisa’s teacher invites him to join the class. Max stretches at the barre. He struggles for a split. And before he knows it, he’s having fun! Young ballplayers and ballet dancers will share Max’s delight when he discovers that dance class is a great way to warm up for a home run.

  4. The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition - Every December, The Nutcracker comes to life in theaters all across the United States. But how did this 19th-century Russian ballet become such a big part of the holidays in 21st-century America? Meet Willam, Harold, and Lew Christensen, three small-town Utah boys who caught the ballet bug in the early 1900s. They performed on vaudeville and took part in the New York City dance scene. Russian immigrants shared the story of The Nutcracker with them, and during World War II, they staged their own Christmastime production in San Francisco. It was America’s first full-length version and the beginning of a delightful holiday tradition.

  1. Jazz Baby - Baby and his family make some jazzy music.

  2. Wally Does Not Want a Haircut - Wally the sheep does not want to get the haircut he really needs, even after all the other farm animals get new hairdos, but when his shaggy wool gets him in trouble, he has no choice but to ask for a trim.

  3. Dressing Up - We’re amazing! We can dress up, sing, dance and make music. There’s nobody quite like us! Enjoy the antics of this inclusive and diverse group of friends, as they celebrate the natural and boundless creativity to be found in every child.

  4. Josephine - In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

Did you enjoy our dance book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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