Author(s): Jayne Dance
When teacher Ruby notices her children are a tad downhearted she decides to embark on an adventure to bring them some happiness. She sets out to give the children ‘a fresh new zing’ when she shares her experience of learning Irish dancing. The children find a renewed sense of belonging and much merriment as they express themselves freely and share in the excitement of a challenge. The book shows how dancing evokes the playfulness of the moment, engaging the whole body and giving the mind a rest.
The emotions of the characters are portrayed beautifully through the illustrations and invite the reader to ponder their own feelings. As the child connects with each character as a learner who makes mistakes, this will encourage conversations and an opportunity to further explore their own behaviours around resilience and persistence. The uplifting narrative will capture a child’s sense of agency and can-do attitude, affirming the value of effort and learning through creative movement.
The repetitive singing words ‘Gecko, Emu, Lemon Gum’ gives the story a distinct Aussie flavour and an almost processional rhythm, drawing each child in to be the reader as well as the listener in this interactive literacy experience.