February 23, 2015
Mr. Putter and Tabby Dance the Dance by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard
Mr. Putter and Tabby Dance the Dance
by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Arthur Howard
Harcourt Children’s Books
As you can see, I’m on a bit of an easy reader kick. Part of it is because I’ve rediscovered the Mr. Putter and Tabby books and am especially enjoying the titles that have come out since my son was a new reader. That said, I wasn’t sure how Rylant was going to pull this one off. Ballroom dancing? For new readers? But she does.
Mrs. Teaberry has been watching a television show about ballroom dancing. It looks like fun so she decides that she and Mr. Putter should give it a try. Mr. Putter isn’t so sure. He finally agrees, because she is his friend, but hopes he’ll like it more than he liked roller skating.
The four friends, because of course the pets have come along, arrive at the ballroom to discover a world of sparkling lights and sparkling costumes. Mr. Putter doesn’t know the rumba or the foxtrot but he’s certain he can manage a one-two-cha-cha-cha. He and Mrs. Teaberry head out onto the dance floor.
So does Zeke. This is often where things go awry because Zeke gets into some mischief. Out on the dance floor, he grabs a set of tuxedo tails and the rose from a tangoing couple. Everyone is having such a great time, they simply don’t mind. The message is clear — everyone belongs on the dance floor.
As someone with two left feet, I’m not 100% certain I agree — let’s just say that I’d be much harder to get out there than Mr. Putter. But the message comes through loud and clear as Mr. Putter tries something new with his friend and has a great time. His crew may not be a sleek or as stylish as the majority of couples but out on the dance floor it just doesn’t matter. That’s a message that we need to hear much more often in our society.
Zeke’s antics will help pull boys into this book but with the emphasis on sparkle the appeal to girls is more direct. That said, if you don’t share it with your young male reader, he will miss a very important message, subtly delivered.