The Children’s Book Review | May 20, 2016
Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!
Written and Illustrated by Bob Shea
Age Range: 2-6
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion (2016)
What to expect: Ballet, Friendship, Cats, Bears, Secrets, Empowerment, Communication, Bravery
Ballet Cat returns in Bob Shea’s story of friendship and empowerment.
In this second installment of the Ballet Cat series, we see a more patient Ballet Cat whose enthusiasm for dance is as adorably obvious as ever. Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! introduces a new character named Butter Bear. Ballet Cat’s seize-the-day attitude contrasts sharply with Butter Bear’s reluctance to do “super high leaps”. At first, Butter Bear seems merely cautious (“a leaping bear could hurt her head on a fancy light like that”). However, after a series of increasingly absurd excuses and requests, it becomes apparent that Butter Bear is avoiding leaps for a reason more complicated than fear of injury. To her credit, Ballet Cat remains patient and accommodating with Butter Bear, but even she has her breaking point. She confronts Butter Bear about her refusal to leap; Butter Bear admits that she cannot leap because she is worried that her friends will laugh at her underpants. Ballet Cat, with her trademark, can-do spirit, convinces Butter Bear that “if you dance with all your heart, the only thing they will see is the beauty of ballet. They will forget all about your underpants.” Butter Bear takes the leap (pun intended) and realizes Ballet Cat was right; the joy of dance transcends all.
Every element that makes a great children’s book great can be found in Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!. The text is simple (and contained entirely within word balloons), but the words are chosen carefully to effectively convey maximum feeling and humor. The illustrations are bold, unfussy, and perfectly reflect the emotions in the story, from fear to reluctance to frustration to sheer glee.
All children should read Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! so they can learn its valuable lesson: if you don’t worry about what others think and if you do everything in life with all your heart, then you will experience pure happiness.
About Bob Shea
Bob Shea is the author of the first book about Ballet Cat: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET, the Dinosaur vs. series, and several other picture books, including DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD and UNICORN THINKS HE’S PRETTY GREAT. He and his wife have their own design studio in Madison, Connecticut.
Learn more at the Official Site
Visit the author at BobShea.com
Follow Disney Books on Twitter and Instagram
Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!, written and illustrated by Bob Shea, was reviewed by Kelley Smith. Discover more books like Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Ballet, Bear Books, Bob Shea, Bravery, Cats, Dance, Friendship, and Self-empowerment.