Patricia MacCarthy’s sequel to 2017’s Run, Elephant, Run is an enchanting and memorable journey through the vast depths of the Pacific Ocean. As he swims across the Western Gulf of California, a young Bottlenose dolphin encounters all kinds of marine creatures, from the friendly and playful to the dangerous and deadly. Children who have ever been lost in an unknown place will undoubtedly relate to the increasing sense of that the book creates, but will also be reassured by the story’s ending.
Dance, Dolphin, Dance‘s use of poetic, present-tense text to tell the story of the dolphin is complemented by a wonderful range of onomatopoeic language, which almost demands that the book is shared aloud. The quality of the illustrations is wonderful, with each double-page spread sparkling with energy and life. One of the most impressive features of the artwork is the illustrator’s use of colour. The range of blues and greens used to show the different areas of the ocean are astonishing and help give a real sense of motion as the book’s pages are turned.
A ‘spotting’ activity is also included, with 36 other sea animals cleverly hidden within the book’s pages. As the story itself is so captivating, in a way this extra feature feels almost unnecessary, but would certainly help provide some extra longevity. It is a perfect story for sharing with infant classes learning about the environment, as it allows for a great introduction to threatened habitats and helps to reinforce the complexity of the world’s natural ecosystems. It could also be used across the junior phase as it delivers numerous fantastic examples of onomatopoeia on every page. Dance, Dolphin, Dance is undoubtedly a story that will be enjoyed on regular occasions, as it provides the reader with such a richly interactive and satisfying experience.
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