Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jump, Jive, and Jig Across America!

I just arrived in Goa, India, to help facilitate a scientific writing workshop that starts tomorrow, and I'm super excited. (When I'm not writing for children or dancing, I'm usually working at my "real" job as a science writer at an international public health organization.) However, I'm also super jetlagged so am blogging, in part, to keep myself awake.

Goa is in South West India and is one of the country's smallest states. It borders the Indian Ocean and is well known for its beaches, which I'm looking forward to exploring once my family joins me after my workshop. Then we'll head to Bangalore (in the state of Karnataka) to see more family and friends. I'm super excited about that, too.

In keeping with the theme of travel, I want to tell you about a relatively new book published by Sterling. The All-American Jump and Jive Jig, a rhyming picture book by M.P. Hueston (author) and Amanda Haley (illustrator), takes the reader on a journey across America, introducing more than a dozen quirky dances from different parts of the country. There's the Brooklyn Boogie, the Miami Mambo, the Midwest Wiggle, and a whole lot more...

Down the coast a little ways, in Mid-Atlantic states,
Kids enjoy the D.C. Freeze—and Keisha thinks it’s great.
While the music’s playing dance as silly as you choose.
When you hear the music stop, stand still like a statue.

And here's another one...

Atop Alaska's frosty peaks every boy or girl
Knows the Juneau Jitterbug. Let's all give it a whirl!
Imagine you're an insect, like a cricket or a flea.
Now flit and flutter, creep and crawl. James buzzes like a bee.

I've noticed that magazines like Turtle, Babybug, and Highlights High Five have been publishing action rhymes for awhile, trying to get more kids moving. It is really nice to see this book picking up on that trend. I think the book would be especially appropriate for an interactive storytime or for integrating movement into social studies for young children. The kids in the illustrations are having a blast, and their enthusiasm really makes you want to get up and move!

My only criticism of the book--and it's a pretty big one--is that the meter of the poetry is off in some places, and there are quite a few "near misses" in terms of the rhyme. Some examples of words that should have rhymed but don't are friends/end, air/bears, and ground/down. Unfortunately, even the last two lines of the book don't quite rhyme, which is disappointing. Despite these weaknesses, I think this book is incredibly creative and versatile. I hope it gains a lot of fans. 

During my long layover in Bombay this morning, I decided it would be fun to use the format of the book as a poetry prompt to make up my own new dance. It was much harder than I had expected, but I'll leave you with what I came up with...

In the south of India, the kids eat spicy chaat. 
It makes them shake and shimmy 'cause the flavors are so hot. 
Sumanth shows us how he does the Bangalore Chaat Bop.
Shake your head, your hands, your feet, and finish with a hop!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...