Song and Dance Man
Song and Dance Man is a unique and entertaining story that touches on the joy and happiness that a grandfather experiences while reminiscing about his past. He enlightens and excites his grandchildren as he vibrantly acts out his past performances from when he was recognized as the "dance man". The clear and creative illustrations by Stephen Gammell and the simple, yet accurate text by Karen Ackerman, are what make Song and Dance Man such an enjoyable book to read.
Having a tall, rectangular appearance makes the structure of this book very similar to those of most children's books. The illustrations consist almost entirely of single page spreads which all bleed to at least one side. An exception to this is on page fifteen where there are three individual drawings framed by a simple white background. Through this picture sequence, the variety of the "dance mans" moves are cleverly, yet clearly portrayed. The scale of the objects presented in the illustrations is extremely accurate and easy to identify with. For instance, throughout the entire book the grandfather is reasonably depicted as being larger than his grandchildren. Not only is this accurate, but drawings of the instruments and objects surrounding them, such as his cane, top hat, and old wooden trunk are also drawn on a very realistic scale. The illustrations of actual objects and the characters themselves appear fairly symmetrical and solid. The backgrounds, on the other hand, appear to be more asymmetrical, containing more mixtures of colors and the clashing of them in different directions. This adds a lot of excitement and commotion to the illustrations, thus, making the story more dynamic. The pictures are successfully arranged in a sequential pattern, making it easy for the reader to follow the text.
The excellent content included in the illustrations of Song and Dance Man is another reason why readers have such a wonderful experience with the book. The clear and accurate drawings allow for easy readability and comprehension. The pace is set at a level that benefits the reader the most. This is accomplished by keeping the majority of the illustrations symmetrical, solid, and accurate. However, to keep the pace of the story from becoming too slow, flashy, asymmetrical backgrounds are included. Page nine is a good example to show how this technique is accomplished. On this page, the three grandchildren are shown dancing around, each of them frozen in one specific movement of their dance. The blending and mixing of colors in the background allows the reader to envision the children's entire dance, not just the single movement captured on the page. Furthermore, the excitement and liveliness of the main character also adds to the reader's interest and curiosity in the story. These clever and creative techniques that Stephen Gammell puts to use when creating his illustrations are what make Song and Dance Man such an entertaining book.