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The Hokey Pokey

by Larry La Prise and Charles P. Macak and Taftt Baker
Illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka

Published by Simon & Schuster, 1997
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-80519-5

Ages 2 - 6

Skeptics may wonder how an illustrator could possibly make a picture book about the Hokey Pokey seem as much fun as doing the actual dance. Sheila Hamanaka shows us exactly how it's done. Beginning with a spirited young girl wearing red high-top tennis shoes and blond pigtails, she adds a new character to the dance with each verse and double-page spread. The effect is that the song becomes a cumulative tale on a visual level, and young children looking at the book will delight in finding the character who's joined the dance on each page, especially the dancing dog, cat and mouse. Hamanaka also varies the perspective on each page so that sometimes we are looking at the dancers in profile, sometimes we see them from above, and sometimes from below. By the time we get to the "left hip" page, we see the dancers from such a distance that it appears as though the entire world population has joined the dance line. This fact may escape the youngest readers -- they'll be looking for that mouse! And they'll find him, wiping his brow, seated atop the barcode on the back cover of the book. CCBC categories: The Arts (KTH: March 24)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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