Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Review - Diana Dances

Diana Dances
by Luciano Lozano
Date: 2019
Publisher: Annick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A picture book star is born! Diana is struggling in school. She's bored. She can't concentrate. And she really doesn't like math. Diana visits the doctor after her mother receives a call from a concerned school teacher, but the family doctor finds nothing amiss. It's only when Diana hears the soft musical notes filling the psychologist's office that her body begins swaying rhythmically and the correct diagnosis can be made: Diana is a dancer! This wonderfully illustrated picture book debut showcases Luciano Lozano's modern yet timeless style, making for a story that readers will want to return to again and again. Elements of diversity woven throughout the story send subtle yet powerful messages of inclusivity and body positivity to young readers. While Diana Dances is sure to resonate with budding dancers, its wonderful tribute to the need for self-expression, the power of movement, and the importance of self-esteem is universal. Diana's joy at finding her creative outlet is infectious, making Lozano's fearless heroine a sure-to-be favorite with children. The verdict is in: Diana is delightful!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute little book. At first, I was a little bit worried when Diana's mother dragged her to the doctor because she got bad grades and couldn't concentrate; I was afraid that she was going to end up on Ritalin or something. But the prescription was actually far more simple: movement! Instead of drugs, Diana enrolls in a dance class, which she loves. And, to her surprise, the movement helps engage her brain, allowing her to grasp the math concepts she was having trouble with before. (It reminded me a little of a cute scene from 1936's Captain January, in which Shirley Temple's character is practicing her multiplication tables while tap-dancing down the lighthouse steps. Whatever works, right?) Empowering kids to overcome their difficulties in school by exploring some non-traditional activities is a nice thing to see in a picture book.

The illustrations, which look like a mixture of drawing and collage, are sweet. I especially like Diana's little dog. The whole thing has sort of a European feel to me (which I guess isn't surprising, given that the author is based in Spain).

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. This would be a great book to read with kids who might be struggling with paying attention, and it might give parents some ideas on new ways to help deal with the problem.

Thank you to NetGalley and Annick Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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