Picture Book: Song and Dance Man
Author: Karen Ackerman
Illustrator: Stephen Gammell
Summary: Grandpa is a former Vaudeville showman. Whenever his grandchildren visit, he takes them up to the attic and pulls out treasured items such as his tap shoes, bowler hat, gold-tipped cane, and trick scarf so that the ritual entertainment can commence. Grandpa transforms into a song and dance man! His grandchildren are lovingly captivated as he dances, sings, does magic, and tells jokes.
Hanna’s Comments: I’m enthusiastic about this book because of the grandchildren’s obvious love for their grandfather. He has ritualized his legacy to them so that they not only honor it, but revel in it. His devoted investment in their understanding of his story and talents has resulted in the grandchildren’s supreme pride and joy in their grandfather. In a sense, he lovingly offers his life’s work as a gift to them each time they visit.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Dragonfly Books, 1989
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio CD, Amateur videos on Youtube.com
PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Medal), Pre 2K
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, aging, ancestors/patriarch & matriarchs, art, awe, babies/children, beauty, call/calling/vocation, choir/music/singing/songs, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dance/dancing, family, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, grace, grandparents, Holy Spirit, identity/names, individuality/uniqueness, joy, labor/work, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, passion, presence, purpose, renewal/restoration, satisfaction, transformation
Scripture Connections: Miriam’s dancing (Exodus 15:20); May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace (Romans 15:13)
Idea(s) for Application: This would be a perfect book to read to children on Grandparent’s Day. In a religious setting, tie in the gifts received from your matriarchs & patriarchs in scripture or your religious community.