Juliette MacIver (text), Nina Rycroft (illus.). Grasshoppers Dance Scholastic (NZ), 1 June 2015, $AU15.99/$NZ19.00 (pbk), 32pp., ISBN 978-1-77543-224-1
A wonderful evocation of the power of dance, movement and music, this picture book could well result in a boisterous schoolmistress bouncing around as she sings and sways to the words of this picture book! Whatever the time of the year or the mood that needs to be evoked, this picture book gives permission for choral readers to crow and grasshoppers to dance (a drama production here) to the hippity-hop and the boom, boom of words. Of course, not everyone can play a musical instrument effectively but you may be surprised who can. “Rum-a-pum pum on the big bass drum…A somersault bunny in the summer-sun-sun!” And so it is a little bunny who is bit funny (compared to all the other rabbits) and plays to a summertime tune. In leaf-falling, autumn days it is an all-auburn hawk who plays the organ pipes which “wheeze as he strikes those keys, the hawk on the organ in the autumn-time breeze.” Of course, little bunny is there too and with all his music, but it is the grasshoppers who flounce and bounce to the thrill of a shrill! Both image and narrative here are in the business of exciting children to take pleasure in bodily movement and sounds. This is clearly a read aloud book where parent/teacher and child can imaginatively create rhythms and rhymes to match seasons and moods. Let the chaos begin!
reviewed by John McKenzie