Genre: Fiction, Picture Book
Suggested age: 5-10
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Susan F. Cornelison
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing 2010
Have you ever heard of the saying, “dance like there’s nobody watching?” Well, this review is dedicated to all those who fondly remembering a time in their lives when they felt confident enough to dance despite everyone watching!
Meet Howard B. Wigglebottom. He is just a bunny who loves to dance. In his underwear, in the shower, and even at school until one day his classmates make fun of him and he vowed to “NEVER DANCE AGAIN”. As a mother of a little girl who regularly struts her stuff at the grocery store, Strong Start, and just about everywhere there may be an audience, Howard’s vow just about broke my heart. After that fateful day, Howard tries on different personas, determined to find the one that will make him loved and popular among his peers. Howard tried being a rockstar, basketball hero, artist, and yet never found his niche. One day, Howard explained his problem to his grandfather who gave him the sage advice to, “do the things that make you feel good, no matter what your friends say” and gave him a little lesson in the family history of the Wigglebottoms. The day comes where Howard’s resolve is tested when a Sock Hop is announced to take place at school. Can Harold overcome his fear of being ridiculed and do what truly makes him happy?
Howard’s story is written in a way that children will really be able to connect with. Simple text paired with vibrant oil pastel illustrations will make you blush with empathy as Howard tries so hard to be someone he’s not.
If I ever find myself back teaching dance, I want to keep this in my dance bag for those moments where peer pressure or lack of self-confidence overtake the desire to express oneself through movement. This is such a simple, yet key concept to develop in our students throughout their school careers (and beyond, in my humble opinion!). To finish off this review, I would like to leave you with this: