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Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman

Song and Dance Man (original 1988; edition 2003)

by Karen Ackerman, Stephen Gammell

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1,159657,020 (3.89)7
Title:Song and Dance Man
Authors:Karen Ackerman
Other authors:Stephen Gammell
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2003), Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Mrs.Sexton's Favorite Books 23

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Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman (1988)



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The Caldecott Book, "Song and Dance Man," is the story of an older gentleman that once was a performer on the vaudeville stages back in what he calls "the good old days, the song and dance days." When his grandchildren come to visit he begins to tell them the stories of "the good old days." He takes them up to the attic ans pulls out all his vaudeville clothes and props and puts on a show for them. The grand kids love it.

Personal Reaction:
I really enjoyed this story because I love when my grandparents can share memories with me, especially ones they can act out. I also really liked how it not only told about what a vaudeville show was but the grandpa acted it out in the pictures. I just learned what a vaudeville show was my freshmen year of college so I thought it was interesting and nice that it was targeted at younger kids.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I can see making this into an interactive history lesson, for example, bringing in clothes and music from the time period to give the kids a better understanding of "the good old days."
2. It could also be turned into another history/volunteer project by possibly taking a field trip to a nursing home and letting them hear real life stories from people from the time period.
  AlexCCrupper | Sep 16, 2014 |
Song and Dance Man is the story of a grandfather who used to be an entertainer (song and dance man) in his younger years on the vaudeville stage. When his three grandchildren come to visit, he turns off the television and takes them on an adventure in the attic. He opens up all of his old dusty trunks and breaks out his old dancing shoes, top hats and vests. The children play dress up with his old clothes while he performs his old tricks, dances and music on a make believe center stage. He pretends he’s back in the ‘good old days’ when he once was the song and dance man of his time. He gives the children a fun and light hearted performance and then packs everything back away for next time. The story finally ends with the grandfather giving his grandchildren a big hug and telling them he wouldn’t trade those ‘good old days’ for the days he gets to spend with them.

Comments (arguments/opinions):
This Caldecott Medal winner truly is a great story about the love family can have for one another. It’s such a great story that shows children how inspiring and wonderful their grandparents can be. I feel like a lot of the time children don’t realize that their grandparents have lived through and experienced so much and that they truly are amazing people. With its brightly colorful and extremely active illustrations, this book can make any child feel happy and warm hearted. I really liked this book because it’s fun and shows how truly amazing the relationships between grandchildren and their grandparents can be. I think it also opens a lot of doors for children to want to explore their grandparent’s lives more. After seeing that the grandfather, who is first portrayed sitting in front of the television, was actually once a great performer, might motivate children to ask their grandparents what they used to be when they were younger. I think this book can open doorways for family relationships to grow closer and become more meaningful. I also think children will be captivated by the wonderfully bright illustrations and exciting movement that is detailed throughout this story. ( )
  BrookeMattingly | Sep 9, 2014 |
Summary: Song and Dance Man is a story of a grandfather who lived the glory days of his life on the vaudeville stage as a song and dance man. In an effort to entertain his grandchildren one day and share with them a slice of history, he takes them to the attic to rummage for his old tap shoes, top hat and cane. He then proceeds to put on a show for them with his old favorite routine and much to their amazement they are thrilled with the performance. It is apparent to the grandchildren that their grandfather misses his days on the vaudeville stage.

Personal Reaction: Song and Dance Man was a fun story and a great reminder that elderly people that have lived many years before us have things to share. Often times we feel that the things of old are irrelevant but it is important that we not lose touch with the things of the past. This story reminds me of listening to my grandfather’s stories of his life as a Navy pilot in World War II.

Classroom Extension:
1. This would be a fun story to read before grandparents’ day to younger elementary students and have them prepare a song and dance routing for their grandparents.
2. After reading this story, students could work together to come up with a series of questions to ask their grandparents about things they would like to know about when they were younger.
  msmarymac | Mar 21, 2014 |
caldecott winner, 1989
colored pencil sketches
a trip up to the attic with grandpa transforms the old man into a young singing sensation...if only in his memory
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
This book is about a grandfather who reminisces with his grandchildren about the days when he was a stage performer
  bmmander | Dec 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Ackermanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gammell, StephenIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394893301, Hardcover)

Once a song and dance man, Grandpa reclaims his youth and profession before the delighted eyes of his three grandchildren one afternoon. He simply cannot resist the urge to dress up in clothes left over from his vaudeville days--complete with top hat and gold-headed cane--and to perform tricks, play banjo and tell jokes. He taps, twirls and laughs himself to tears on a thrown-together stage in his attic. Artist Stephen Gammell takes full advantage of lamplight to render Grandpa in shadow and silhouette, trivializing the concept of age and creating a feeling of intense nostalgia. Related from the point of view of the children, the text in Song and Dance Man is soft and understated, and Gammell's artistry is superb. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1989.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:57 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Grandpa demonstrates for his visiting grandchildren some of the songs, dances, and jokes he performed when he was a vaudeville entertainer.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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