Best Children's Books About Dance

Our Favorite 43 Books about Dance

Updated Mar. 19, 2019

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!

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.

Barnyard Dance! book
#2
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.

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.

Let's Dance, Little Pookie book
#6
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!

Miss Bunny's Shapes book
#7
Miss Bunny's Shapes
Written and illustrated by Becky Baur
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from 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.

Explore and identify shapes in this stylish lift-the-flap board book from a standout new artist. Miss Bunny is having a party . . . and you re invited. But what kind of party will it be? That s the fun mystery that will entertain toddlers as they learn all about shapes. Featuring ravishing rabbits in bold designs, this supercool board book has cool flaps to lift on every page.

Swan book
#8
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
#9
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.

Love Is a Tutu book
#10
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.

Chicken Dance book
#11
Chicken Dance
Written by Tammi Sauer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

I Can Dance book
#12
I Can Dance
Written and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from 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!

Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There's even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, readers use two sets of hands to help the dancers perform an encore. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfying touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book is the perfect way to play and read together.

The Nutcracker book
#13
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.

Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop! book
#14
Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop!
Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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!

Baby Loves to Boogie! book
#15
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.

Cockatoo, Too book
#16
Cockatoo, Too
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from 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.

Who can can-can? Find out in Cockatoo, Too, a hilarious book that features cockatoos, two more cockatoos, and tutued toucans too, now available as a board book! Cockatoo. Cockatoo two? Cockatoo, too? Two cockatoos! Two cockatoos, too? Cockatoo tutus! Two cockatoos meet two more cockatoos in tutus and two tutued toucans. And then two more! Can they all can-can? They can! The cockatoos and toucans join together for a dance and ask the reader: "Can you can-can, too?" Now even the youngest readers can experience fantastically funny wordplay and lush, vibrant illustrations in this new board book edition of Cockatoo, Too.

Dance book
#17
Dance
Written and illustrated by Matthew Van Fleet
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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!

The Jellybeans and the Big Dance book
#18
The Jellybeans and the Big Dance
Written by Nate Evans, Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Dancing in the Wings book
#19
Dancing in the Wings
Written by Debbie Allen and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina book
#20
Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina
Written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Duck & Goose, Let's Dance! book
#21
Duck & Goose, Let's Dance!
Written and illustrated by Tad Hills
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"Duck and Goose have fun dancing together as friends"--

Angelina Ballerina book
#22
Angelina Ballerina
Written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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

Wally Does Not Want a Haircut book
#23
Wally Does Not Want a Haircut
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Dressing Up book
#24
Dressing Up
Written and illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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

The Bunny Rabbit Show! book
#25
The Bunny Rabbit Show!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

You’ve got front-row seats to the cutest revue in town—hop on down to The Bunny Rabbit Show! The latest addition to Sandra Boynton’s phenomenal bestselling Boynton on Board series, this book stars a cast of high-kicking bunnies performing in perfect unison to a lively song all about . . . them. We are ten terrific rabbits And we like to dance and sing. Ten terrific rabbits. We can do most anything. Bunnies are very welcoming, so everyone (Boynton’s pigs, sheep, chickens, and YOU) can come join the chorus line—bunny ears mandatory, of course. An exuberant original song by Sandra Boynton and Mike Ford is available for download.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.