Last May, Disney Press published the first in a new children’s book series by Bob Shea, Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret. A hardcover easy reader for preschool through 2nd grade, the first book taught Ballet Cat how to be flexible when her friend, Sprinkles the Pony, grew tired of playing ballet with her. Now Ballet Cat is back for another adventure in Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!
Utilizing the same speech-bubble style as the first book, Dance! Dance! Underpants! pairs Ballet Cat with her friend Butter Bear. While teaching Butter Bear how to dance, Ballet Cat finds that she is reluctant to do any big leaps, she won’t try anything other than pointing her toes. After stalling almost the entire day, Butter Bear confesses that the real reason she won’t leap is that she’s afraid people will laugh at her underpants.
The lesson learned in Dance! Dance! Underpants! is that fear of other’s opinions shouldn’t hold you back from doing something you enjoy. In the story, Ballet Cat pulls Butter Bear out of her shell so the two can have fun. Little ones will surely laugh at the story as well, as underwear is inherently funny to children… especially when its covered in rainbows of smiley faces.
The Ballet Cat series works a little better when kids are able to read it themselves. Because it uses colored speech bubbles rather than text blocks, its easy for kids to see which character is speaking. However, parents who wish to read this to their kids need only point at which character is speaking. It’s a fun little book with charming artwork that teaches a great life lesson.