This Is Tap!: Savion ­Glover Finds His Funk

Holiday House. Feb. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823438631.
Gr 1-2–This kinetic and exciting picture book biography shares the life story of tap-dancing sensation Savion Glover. Written in simple, flowing verse that “hits” just like a tap shoe, the smooth text is lively, punctuated by beats, and begs to be read out loud. Repetition of end sounds and generous use of onomatopoeia add vitality to each page. The story starts with a focus on Glover’s mother’s pregnancy and shifts to his upbringing in connection to the arts, beginning drumming and dance lessons at a young age and excelling at both. Readers learn about Glover’s breakout role in the New York theater scene at the age 10, and how New York City influenced the development of what he has become known best for—a unique blend of tap dancing and hip hop. As readers follow Glover coming to prominence after choreographing and starring in his own Broadway show that chronicled the history of racism in the United States as expressed through tap, Castrovilla helps readers to imagine what it must feel like to experience music and rhythm the way Glover does in every moment and in any setting, however mundane. Freeman’s dynamic illustrations pulse with vitality—Glover is never depicted as still or flat-footed. On each page he is leaping, twirling, or hitting a beat, communicating volumes with his feet. An afterword provides needed details about key experiences in Glover’s life.
VERDICT Recommended for large nonfiction collections.

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