Saturday, 5 December 2015

Scarlett Starlet

Scarlett Starlet written and illustrated by Emma Quay (Harper Collins) HB RRP $24.99                                                
ISBN 9780733331589

Reviewed by Sharon McGuinness

A self confessed ‘dance mum’, Emma Quay has hit the spot with her delightful new picture book Scarlett Starlet.

Like many young children, Scarlett has a love of movement – ‘she high kicked to the kitchen’ and ‘danced into her clothes’ are just two of the simple, yet expressive images Quay conveys.

With her faithful dance partner Jazzy Jo-Jo, Scarlett entertains her parents with her toe tapping moves. Yet all dancers need a stage and Scarlett wonders what it would be like to dance on a real stage before an audience bigger than two. With her costume and dancing shoes, Scarlett is ready, clutching Jazzy Jo-Jo – but dogs weren’t allowed on stage and Scarlett must dance without her. But does she?

Quay fills the pages with images of a diversity of children, each warming up, waiting their turn to shine.

Finally it is Scarlett’s turn and we feel her apprehension as the spotlight beams on the small figure. Then the music starts and we know that Scarlett will feel the rhythm and her feet will know just what to do. Scarlett shone and at the end, the audience clapped – ‘the sound of their claps joined together and made applause.’ The other dancers shone, too with their parents glowing with pride, just like Scarlett’s.

Dominated by the bold colours of red and yellow, Quay captures the best of a dance recital, where all children shine through a combined love of dance and fun.
From a self confessed ‘non dance mum’, Quay made me smile throughout as both the text and illustrations belie the stereotypical dance recital!

Well suited to ages 3-5 years.

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