Dance is for Everyone!

This post should probably be holiday themed… but it’s not… not really?

Well, perhaps it is in the fact that Andrea Zuill’s wonderful picture book, Dance is for Everyone has a beautiful message of inclusion.

And kindness.

Acceptance and encouragement.

Which are all messages I would like to see come true in the New Year.

I was looking at picture books with my librarian friend and she asked if I had seen this one? She liked it very much and said, “it’s by Andrea Zuill”. I looked up from the book I was reading, tossed it aside, and literally snatched Dance is for Everyone out of my friend’s hand.

“I love Andrea Zuill!” I squealed in my not-so-quiet library voice.

I really enjoy Andrea Zuill’s artwork. It has so much animation to it and her characters are expressive from their body gestures to their faces.

When a 450 lb alligator arrives to dance class all the students (as well as Mrs. Iraina) are taken aback. But no one wants to upset a large reptile with sharp teeth.

“They didn’t want to hurt her feelings. That might make her grumpy or bitey. Besides, they didn’t speak alligator.”

So, they decide to call her “Tanya”. Tanya is an enthusiastic learner and soon they are all so smitten with her that they write a special dance in order to showcase Tanya’s unique talents.

Andrea’s illustrations and characters are happy and joyful. I smiled the whole way through this story beginning with the darling end pages.

The message of acceptance and inclusion is effortless and subtle. I know kids will relate both to sometimes judging others, and to sometimes feeling judged themselves.

What a great book to encourage children to follow their hearts and to appreciate the differences in unlikely friends.

Happy New Year, everyone!





Happy New Year!
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Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. This looks fantastic! Thank you for the post!

  2. Oh, you are right! This is darling! Can’t wait to get my hands on it and read it. I so love when the end papers become a part of the story. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. This looks terrific. Love the characters, the alligator…

  4. Looks like it will be enjoyed by all!

  5. Sounds like a really fun book. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks.

  6. Love those endpapers!! Thanks, Jennifer, and happy new year! 🙂

  7. Thanks for the heads up. I can’t wait to read it.

  8. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing this delightful book! Happy New Year!

  9. This sounds wonderful & just what the doctor ordered, Jennifer! I loved her Wolf Camp, and her illustrations are so lively & funny!

    Thank you & Happy New Year!!

  10. picturebookbuilders

    Oh, wow. These illustrations DO look great!

  11. I love that big green alligator in a ballet pose. I cannot wait to read the rest.

  12. What a fun book! I don’t speak alligator either!

  13. Just put this on hold. Looks so cute!

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