Friday, August 4, 2017

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show by Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis

When Sandy sees an announcement for an upcoming talent show, she is excited to enter, but Andy doesn’t think he has any stage-worthy talents. After suggesting several options, Sandy settles on the idea of dancing together. Andy struggles, but improves with practice. When the big day arrives, Sandy is struck with stage fright, but Andy’s sweet moves save the day.

This book is written for the earliest beginners, with generously-sized fonts and only a few words per page. The illustrations do an excellent job of supporting the text: when new vocabulary is introduced (“juggle,” “tumble,” “hula hoop”), Sandy is clearly pictured performing those actions. This book also uses some elements we’ve seen in other books this year: there are four pages of wordless spreads showing Andy and Sandy’s dance, and throughout the book pages are divided into comic-book-style panels. There is also some slightly more challenging vocabulary present on signage (“Andy and Sandy Sashay Through the Park”), just as we saw in What’s Your Favorite Favorite?.

This is a useful title that displays several excellent elements. Is it a contender for the Geisel? Well, it could be, depending on the rest of the field. It’s certainly worthy of discussion. Will it appeal to beginning readers and motivate them to keep reading? Perhaps. Talent shows are a perennially popular topic, and dePaola’s art may draw in readers familiar with his other works, which include the earlier titles in this series. Have you tried this book with the beginning readers in your life? What did they think of it?

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