Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif (Walker Books)
HC RRP $24.95
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Author/illustrator Birgitta Sif earned my lifelong interest in her work with her exceptional debut picture book, Oliver. Now, with its theme of freedom and natural ability verses self consciousness, this delightful story has increased my devotion.
Frances Dean dances all the time; to the sound of the wind, to the birds singing and to the music in her head and heart. It’s when other people are around that she forgets how to dance. This causes her great sadness. It’s when she sees another girl in the park singing along with her radio regardless of all those around her, that she ‘is reminded in her heart how much she loved to dance and dance’. Can she find a way to share with others what dancing means to her?
Sif has used the natural world, in particular birds and creatures of the woods and parks, to support her theme. The delicate and highly detailed illustrations carry additional stories separate to the one being told through the text. Each page is an adventure into the drawings; a journey of discovery for children to translate in their own way.