Monday, December 10, 2012

Art Imitating Life in "Balancing Act"

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
Every month, I recommend a picture book for dance educator Maria Hanley to use in her creative movement classes in New York, and then we both share our experiences with the book. In November, I recommended Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh. After you read my post about the book, don't forget to stop by Maria's blog, Maria's Movers, to find out her movement ideas!

Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? Wow! This is not the first time I have gone several weeks without blogging, but every time it happens I am amazed how quickly the time has gone by. And every time it happens, it is usually for the same reason.

Yes, I admit that time gets away from me sometimes, and then I have trouble balancing work, family, writing, dancing, blogging... Life really is a balancing act, and a very delicate one. Spend just a little too much time or energy on one aspect of life, and you might have to make some changes to get back on track. Well, the book I picked for our November collaboration -- Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh -- is all about balancing, too...but on a teeter-totter!

The mice made a teeter-totter.
It was fun to balance...
one mouse on each end. 
But then a salamander wanted a turn. 

From this excerpt, you may be getting an idea of where this book is headed. Well, the salamander jumps onto one end of the teeter-totter, and that end of the teeter-totter drops to the ground. Oh, but then another salamander hops onto the other end of the teeter-totter, and everything is perfectly balanced again. But wait! Now a frog wants a turn! This continues on for a while until it starts getting a little bit harder to balance the teeter-totter, like when a big heavy bird wants to join in!

I thought this book could be fun for teaching balance, or for giving little ones a chance to practice coming up with creative solutions to a problem. It will be fun to see what Maria decided to do with the book in her classes. You can find out here.

The illustrations for the book are just as delightful as the simple story line. Created with paper cut-outs, the teeter-totter and the animal characters stand out against a white background on every page. And the characters are colorful, yet slightly muted. A perfect "balance" of the two...

I couldn't find a website for Ellen Stoll Walsh, but I found this really neat Pinterest page with links to more of her picture books and some fun artistic and educational ideas to go with them. Enjoy!


  1. Just found your blog and I love it! I am looking for ideas for the Music and Movement storytime I do at our library and this would be perfect! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Carly. Thanks so much! Music and movement story time sounds like fun! In case you haven't found it yet, I have all of the posts from my collaboration with Maria's Movers organized under "Ideas for Dance Class" in the menu at the top of my blog. So glad to have you joining us. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to cover on the blog and I'll see if I can fit it in the line-up :)


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