Rupert Can Dance

illus. by Jules Feiffer. 32p. Farrar/Michael di Capua Bks. Aug. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780374363635. LC 2013908976.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—Rupert loves to watch Mandy dance all day long. But what the child doesn't know is that when she goes to bed, her quiet ginger cat slips on her dancing shoes and dances the night away. Rupert wants to keep his secret, but one night Mandy wakes up, and Rupert is caught in the act. When she decides to teach him some steps, he hides under the bed ("Cats are not meant for lessons. Cats are free spirits"). Then Mandy understands and cleverly hatches a plan that ends with the two friends joyfully dancing together for years. This story focuses on the relationship between the two characters and celebrates the joy of dancing, alone or with friends. Feiffer has created a compelling, yet concise, sequential narrative that shows the importance of imagination and being flexible. Sets of three consecutive scenes are used several times to focus on a character's emotion or motivation. The mixed-media illustrations feature loose and broad line work that will be familiar to Feiffer's fans. The balance of full-page art and characters dancing against the white space propels the story forward while providing visual variety, and the large size of this book makes it great for group sharing. The main text is large and bold and done in a stylistic font, while Mandy's dialogue is in an easier-to-read font. A first purchase for cat fans and free spirits everywhere.—Amy Seto Musser, Denver Public Library
Kitty Rupert slips on his owner Mandy's dance slippers and boogies down. Loose, scribbly illustrations with washes of color capture Rupert's expressive face and body, from his satisfaction with his delicious secret to his mortification at being found out. The story of friendship and shared passion at the heart of this warmly humorous book will appeal to readers.
Mandy only stops dancing to sleep, which gives her marmalade kitty Rupert the chance to slip on Mandy's dance slippers and boogie down himself. The cat's out of the bag when Mandy wakes up and catches Rupert in the act. Loose, scribbly illustrations with washes of color capture Rupert's expressive face and body, from his satisfaction with his delicious secret to his mortification at being found out. Worse, Mandy offers to teach him--then doesn't understand why Rupert slinks off to nurse his wounded pride. With a little thought (and thoughtfulness), Mandy coaxes Rupert out of his sulk and back onto the dance floor. The busy typefaces (a retro-looking geometric one for the main text and a "handwritten" one for Mandy's speech) feel like poor matches for the spontaneity of Feiffer's line. But the friends' duet--which grows larger on the page with their exuberance, culminating in a double-page spread of joyful grands jetes--more than makes up for this quibble. This warmly humorous book may resonate most with those familiar with the love of dance or the delicate dignity of cats, but the story of friendship and shared passion at its heart will appeal to any reader. katie bircher

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