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This week’s children’s book review is all about Dance with Oti by Oti Mabuse. It was published by Walker Books and can be purchased on Amazon*.
There are lots of children in Oti’s dance class – and lots of feelings, too. Meet Fikile in her sparkly new shoes and Naira who is SUPER excited to get started! Gan is feeling a little worried about joining in whilst Martin can’t wait to show his parents what he can do! But in the middle of their dance routine, an unexpected visitor disrupts the class. Not to fear, Oti is here! Soon they are back on track, getting ready for the performance of their lives.
I really like Oti Mabuse so when I saw she had done a children’s book I was curious about what it would be like! Even from the front cover though you can see this is going to be a really fun book for children.
In the book, children are lined up outside the dance studio waiting for Oti’s class to begin. Firstly, I loved that the children were all different and with a variety of names. We don’t live in a particularly diverse area so it’s important to see things like this in that books that we read. The story also starts off being really upbeat.
Oti starts off her dance class with a warm up and this is something children (and adults) reading can join in with as well. The warm up page has very clear images and instructions of what to do and what comes next. This is a great way for getting children up and moving while not even really realising. Of course, it looks like loads of fun as well.
Throughout the book children learn different dance moves as part of the routine that Oti is teaching but it also explores things like children not being able to do everything ‘right’ or the same way as everyone else. I think this is great because it encourages children to just try and have fun sometimes.
One thing that happens in the book is that a bird comes into the dance studio, something that Oti takes inspiration from and encourages the children to try to dance like the bird! At the end of the book there are all the steps to ‘the bird jive’, which you and your child can do together.
Not only is this a really lovely book to have at home but I think it would be a great one for schools!