Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: 'The Jellybeans and the Big Dance' a cute book with a message

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— Lots of young readers and their parents have giggled about the chain of events set off in "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" or "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" or any of the other books this series by Laura Numeroff.

Fans of Numeroff's work will be delighted to learn she has a brand new series. Numeroff has paired up with author Nate Evans, co-author of "Sherman Crunchley," to write about "The Jellybeans." This week's column features the first book, "The Jellybeans and the Big Dance." The book was illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.

The characters in the book are four adorable little animals, who have four very different personalities.

Emily, the central character, is a light brown puppy. She loves to dance. As the book opens, Emily is about to go to her very first dance class. She twirls around her room. A poster with dancers hangs on the wall. Her dolls wear dance cresses and shoes.

Emily loves dancing so much that she dances while doing everything - watching television, waiting for the bus and even brushing her teeth.

Emily also loves the color pink. Her dance costume, shoes, overalls, blouse and backpack are pink.

When Emily arrives at the dance studio, the other three characters are already there.

Nicole, a tomboy kitten, is balancing one foot on a soccer ball. Shy bunny Anna is reading a book with a red cover and Bitsy pig is drawing a picture with crayons.

Emily tries to start up a conversation about dancing but she discovers the others aren't dancers at all. In fact, Nicole says her mother made her take the class.

The four little animals have strengths in different areas - one is an athlete, another is a bookworm, the third is an artist and Emily is a dancer. What happens when they have to work together as a team?

The teacher, Miss Tingly-Weezer, points to the nametags above some cubbies and tells the characters to put their things away. Then, she announces there will be a recital in a month and the girls will dance to "Oh, Little Bug!"

Bitsy thinks bugs are icky, Anna is just plain afraid of them and Nicole announces that her brother once ate a bug. Even Emily is disappointed. She'd much rather be a princess than a bug.

The practice doesn't go any better. When the characters spin around in a circle, they become dizzy and fall into the cubbies, spilling the nametags on the floor.

Interestingly, the nametags fall so that the first letter of each name spells "bean." This will be important later on.

Poor Emily! The classes are just awful. After the fourth one, her mother suggests they visit Petunia's Candy and Ice Cream Shop. Emily remembers how the fallen nametags spelled out "bean." She has a plan.

This is a cute book with a wonderful message about using one's strengths and talents.

The cover of the hardcover book has been designed using glitter. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers (2008), the book costs $15.95. You can also find it at the Moffat County Library.

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