Coverart for item
The Resource My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

Label
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Title
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Statement of responsibility
Libba Moore Gray ; illustrated by Raul Colon
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A ballet dancer recalls how she and her mother would welcome each season with a dance outdoors
Award
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 1996
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 1995
  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books: 1995
Review
  • Books for Youth, For the Young: /*Starred Review*/Ages 4-8. "My mama had a dancing heart / and she shared that heart with me." So begins a picture book whose beauty is both in the words, stitched together like an heirloom quilt, and in the art, a magical collection of paintings that captures the love found in the best mother-daughter relationships. All the radiance of the seasons shines through as the daughter, now an adult, describes how she and her mother headed out to the shore in the summer with balloons and kites tied to their wrists. "And afterward we'd seashell-pile the windowsill / and drink cold lemonade." They'd leaf-dance in autumn and snow-dance in winter. In spring, "high-stepping and splashing," they'd "slip-swish" through the green grass and later read rain poems and drink sassafras tea. Colon, one of the most exciting new picture-book artists, uses a special technique incorporating colored pencil and watercolor washes in layers; he adds texture with scratching tools, which gives the pictures a distinctive look. That may be the technical explanation, but what viewers see is the stuff of dreams, gloriously colored, evocative pictures that somehow capture the elusive qualities of memory and love. ((Reviewed Sept. 15, 1995)) -- Ilene Cooper
  • PreS-Gr 3-In spring, summer, fall and winter, a mother leads her young daughter in dancing a celebratory ballet, a hymn to the season. When the girl is older, she is a ballerina and remembers that her mother gave her a dancing heart. Gray writes with her trademark hyphenated, onomatopoetic descriptions. In the winter, they are like "galoshes-galumphing" snowmen, and in the fall, Gray describes the "eye-blinking blue air" and the "leaf-kicking leg-lifting hand-clapping hello autumn ballet." The end of the story is sentimental and perhaps nostalgic beyond children's understanding. But what is clear is that the daughter credits her mother with her joy of movement. Also special is the closeness the two share whether sipping hot tea or cutting out paper snowflakes. Colon's etched watercolors in earth and muted jewel tones give the book an old-fashioned ambiance. Purples, roses, rusts, and greens are textured from the etching and the shading with color pencils, and the technique lends a sense of motion to the paintings, as does Colon's depiction of the dancers with their arched backs, kicking legs, and outstretched arms. Gray's writing lends itself to reading aloud, but independent readers will also enjoy it. Pair this with one of Patricia Lee Gauch's "Tanya" books (Philomel), which exhibit the same joy in movement, or with Shimmy Shake Earthquake (Little, 1992), a collection that is written with the same exuberant celebration of dance.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day School Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
  • Gray's (Small Green Snake) narrator shares a melodic remembrance of her mother, who welcomed each season with boundless enthusiasm-and bade her daughter to do the same: "Bless the world/ it feels like/ a tip-tapping/ song-singing/ finger-snapping/ kind of day. / Let's celebrate." The two danced barefoot in the spring rain, ran through the summer surf with balloons and kites tied to their wrists, performed a "leaf-kicking/ leg-lifting/ hand-clapping/ hello autumn ballet," and lay on the ground to make snow angels in winter. Shifting to the present tense, the girl-now a ballerina-notes how these memories serve as inspiration as she leaps across the stage. Though her imagery tends toward the precious, Gray has crafted a genuinely affectionate, personal tribute to someone who embraced life wholeheartedly. Colon (Always My Dad) contributes sophisticated, inventively textured art, rendered in an intriguing combination of watercolor washes, etching, and colored and litho pencils. The pictures gracefully convey the chronic motion described in Gray's text; their muted, earth-toned colors lend a nostalgic feel. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
  • /* Starred Review */ A lyrical dance through the seasons. This will be a switch for fans of Gray's Small Green Snake (1994). The poetry is retained, but the mood is soft and nostalgic. Mama is a dancer, and she shares her joy of movement with her daughter, who narrates. "We'd dance a frog-hopping leaf-growing flower-opening hello spring ballet" and then drink sassafras tea, she recalls. A winter dance includes making snow angels, and a promenade imitating the clumsiness of snowmen. Beverages mark the seasons (lemonade in summer, cocoa in winter) as do colors (a red-orange summer morning, paper-white cut-out snowflakes). As the book closes, the now-grown daughter ties on her toe shoes and performs ballet in exalted remembrance. Col¢n (Sharon Wyeth's Always My Dad, p. 236) gives his illustrations a 1940s feel; his palette of pine, green, maroon, violet, and gold glows warmly. Fine lines scratched into the drawings add a sense of motion beyond the dancing figures, highlighting the billowing clouds, rustling leaves, and the splashed-in puddles. The reflective mood may appeal--at first--more to adults, but the sharing of this book between generations creates a nice parallel to the intimacy of parent and child in the story. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1995)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
109949
Cataloging source
CNSTI
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Gray, Libba Moore
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Interest level
  • LG
  • K-2
LC call number
PZ7.G7793
LC item number
My 1995
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • -1
  • 3
Reading level
  • 3.8
  • 4.5
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
  • Accelerated Reader AR
  • Reading Counts RC
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Dancing- legacy, seasons, ballet, mothers
  • Dance
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Seasons
  • Dance
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Seasons
Label
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn824626824
Dimensions
27 cm
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781413153767
Lccn
94048802
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)824626824
Label
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn824626824
Dimensions
27 cm
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781413153767
Lccn
94048802
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)824626824

Library Locations

    • Independence Public LibraryBorrow it
      175 Monmouth Street, Independence, OR, 97351, US
      44.851488 -123.185756
Processing Feedback ...