#752 – 53 – I Can Dance and I Can Play by Betsy Snyder

I Can Dance and Play combo

I Can Dance & I Can Play

Written and Illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Chronicle Books       9/01/2015
978-1-4521-2929-7 and 978-1-4521-2905-1
14 pages     7” X 7”     Age infant—2

“Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette and athletes splash, sprint, or score just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There’s even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, readers use two set of hands to help the dancers perform an encore and the athletes unite as a team! With interactive holes on every page and a satisfying touch-and-feel cover, these board books are charming and perfect for playing and reading together.” [press release]

I Can Dance and I Can Play will keep little fingers busy and happy as they help the dancers dance and the athletes play. At first glance, these board books look odd. The characters are missing their legs, but they are not disabled; they are in need of help. Little fingers become the dancers’ and athletes’ legs, and by wiggling their fingers, the boys and girls dance a variety of dance styles and play various sports.

I Can Dance Begin your dancing as a ballerina, complete with a lacey pink tutu. Place your fingers into the die-cut holes and you become the dancer’s legs. Wiggle and kick for a different kind of ballet—your ballet. Turn the page and enter the 1970’s. Donning the iconic white suit and classic “Saturday Night Fever” pose, the dancer is ready to boogie under the shining silver ball. Become his legs and then jump, shout, and do the hokey-pokey! Uh, forget the hokey-pokey; dance the jive! Have you tired of dancing? Good, because it is time for your gymnastic routine.

The final spread is extra-long—three pages—and every dancer returns along with a new master of ceremony. It will take three sets of fingers to make this group dance their final set. Time for mom or dad to join their child and play as they read.

"I can spin on my hands. I can pose with my feet. If you give me a rhythm, I can break to the beat!"

“I can spin on my hands. I can pose with my feet.
If you give me a rhythm, I can break to the beat!”

I Can Play Your first sport is European football, also known as soccer. The green field is fuzzy soft. Your player is ready to kick a goal or pass to a teammate, but he needs your help, as he has no legs. Using the die-cut holes, make your fingers become each athlete’s legs and kick a ball, dribble a basketball and score, swim the backstroke to victory, and run to the end of the race, crossing the finish line with your friend—only you must help both runners (each has only one leg). The final spread is again extra-long—three pages—and every player returns along with a cheerleader. So clap and cheer the end of your play. Wait, you need an extra hand to make sure each player has their legs. Time for mom or dad to join their child and play as they read. Young children will enjoy dancing and playing all the sports their older siblings may be playing but they are too young—for now—to play.

 "Can lean with my legs as I glide down the hills. I can ride like a pro—I’ve got snowboarding skills!"

“Can lean with my legs as I glide down the hills.
I can ride like a pro—I’ve got snowboarding skills!”

Both I Can Dance and I Can Play are fun board books with nice rhyming couplets. Personally, I like I Can Play better, but then I was what the adults called a “tom-boy.” For me, the fast, action-filled sports are wonderful fun. In both books, spreads alternate between boys and girls, making it easy for kids to read and play with either book. The mixed media illustrations are gorgeous. With small facial features, these kids still pack a lot of emotion. The multiethnic cast of characters are cute, energetic, happy kids. I Can Dance and I Can Play are entertaining enough for every toddler to enjoy. Recommend!

I CAN DANCE and I CAN PLAY. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Betsy Snyder. Reproduce by permission of the Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase I Can Dance at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.
Purchase I Can Play at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about I Can Dance and I Can Play HERE and HERE.

Meet Betsy Snyder at the 28th Annual 2015 Buckeye Book Fair, November 7, 2015

Meet the author/illustrator, Betsy Snyder, at his/her website:  http://www.betsysnyder.com/
Facebook      Blog        Twitter  @betsysnyderart
Find more books at the Chronicle Books website: http://chroniclekids.com

2016 PNBA Book Award Nominee for both I Can Dance & I Can Play

Also by Betsy Snyder
I Haiku You
Sweet Dreams Lullaby
It’s a Firefly Night (w/ author Dianne Ochiltree)
Tons of Trucks (w/ author Sue Fliess)
.          .  —and many more

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: I Can Dance and I Can Play by Betsy Snyder, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



5 thoughts on “#752 – 53 – I Can Dance and I Can Play by Betsy Snyder

  1. I agree with Maria’s comments about the books seeming to be geared to a particular gender. But aside from that, I love the idea that the kids are the ones who give life to the characters.


  2. The choice of cover illustration for each book would suggest that there’s still a lot of gender stereotyping going on, which means the “I can play” book will mostly catch the attention of parents buying books for boys…given there’s a little boy on the cover wearing a soccer kit, and be largely passed by when parents out to buy books for girls look around. Shame, since it seems to defeat the purpose of the books.


      • Unfortunately, books are mostly bought by cover and blurb, unless there are already lots of reviews that previous readers have left. As you say, the inside of what seem to be very lovely books is totally different to what the book covers suggest.


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