Princess Petunia is bored with a capital B. Stuck inside for six days because of a relentless rainstorm, she has not been able to see her friends and seems to have exhausted every indoor activity she can think of. When her attention is drawn to her window, however, she begins to imagine herself doing things outside by moving her body. Swaying like a swing, melting like ice cream on a hot day, and pretending to blow enormous bubbles, Petunia finds a comforting sense of calm within herself.
Movement has a soothing effect on children and adults alike; couple that with delightful storytelling, and it becomes the Dance it Out series by Once Upon a Dance. This second book in the series begins with an introduction by Ballerina Konora, the primary subject of all the stories in this rapidly growing collection. She invites readers to safely participate in the story at whatever level is comfortable for them.
Petunia’s tale has three layers which can be consumed equally well in tandem or independently. The first layer features whimsical illustrations of Petunia in a variety of settings. Beginning in her bedroom, attentive readers will recognize details which foreshadow later events in the narrative. Second is the text itself, written for a young elementary school-aged audience because of its length. Important words are presented in different fonts and styles to draw attention to them, and the story often addresses readers directly. Third is the movement section, which explains motions that correspond to events or objects found on that page in the story. These descriptions are accompanied by photographs of Ballerina Konora—dressed as a princess herself—demonstrating the actions.
Young readers will love the interactive component of this series and will feel like a calm princess by the end of this installment. Inviting multiple readings, children will soon be able to act out this story from memory with their bodies. Fans of the Dancing Shapes series will love this new addition, and all readers will connect with this charming character and her vivid imagination.
—Reedsy (Mary Lanni)