Leonard Doesn’t Dance

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Frances Watts (text) and Judy Watson (illustrator), Leonard Doesn’t Dance, Harper Collins, May 2019, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780733333040

Leonard yearns to dance.

The Big Beaky Bird Ball is fast approaching and all the other birds are getting ready to strut their stuff and show off their fancy dance moves.

Despite his best efforts, Leonard’s attempts to warble-waltz with the magpies, do-si-do with the ducks, and can-can with the crows does not go so well.

Sad and miserable, Leonard thinks he can’t dance, or can he?

Frances Watts foot-tapping tale is thoughtfully threaded with alliteration that brings the story to life. Magpies glide gracefully, while a whirlwind of woodpeckers’ whoop and leap, as the Big Beaky Bird Ball approaches.

Bursting with deep tones and striking colour Judy Watson’s illustrations are rich in detail and texture making the birds and surroundings seem almost alive. It is a visual delight!

The central themes of creativity and individuality offer some wonderful opportunities for classroom discussion about being proud of one’s individual talents and accepting our unique differences. Some book bird-spotting could be on the cards too!

Leonard Doesn’t Dance is an infectious story about dancing to the beat of your own rhythm.

Reviewed by Shelley Stevens

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