This Monday’s “Marvelous New Picture Book” is a really fun one. Eric Litwin’s “The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants” will make every parent or teacher want to go ahead and rock out with it! The story follows Hazel, the daughter of the Nuts, in her efforts to get her family members to dance with her. As she approaches her family members, however, each is busy in another task. Hazel continues to dance by herself and try to recruit. Her perseverance pays off in the end when she calls Grandma Nut who then comes over to dance with Hazel. Once the rest of the family hears the music and sees the party, they join in, ending with a family dance party!
This is a wonderful book for children for a few reasons, like how it highlights many universal themes. For example, all children love to play with their family, yet have probably faced the disappointment when a sibling or parent is busy and cannot play. Hazel handles each interaction gracefully, never giving up hope and asking the next member with optimism to dance with her. Another relatable theme is the annoying little sibling. When Litwin writes “Her little brother, Wally Nut, was being a pain in the you-know-what”, it not only is funny, but I’m sure most older siblings feel the exact same way! When a book can be so specifically relevant to the life of a child, he or she is more likely to love it and to see how enjoyable reading can be. Lastly, Hazel’s perseverance and the ultimate reward of it (in dance party form) is a lesson we can all take to heart.
Scott Magoon’s illustrations echo Litwin’s vibrant words and rhymes. The bright colors (down to the rosiness in Hazel’s cheeks) are beautifully done. Furthermore, the background details and text provide a lot to talk about with a child as well as some laughs for the adult reader (my favorite is the inclusion of the “Nutellaphone”). A full instruction set to partake in the “Polka-Dot Pants Dance” is included at the end of the book, as well as a link to listen to the song and “dance along with Eric Litwin”, which I had to check out. It would definitely make for an exciting activity after the book reading in order to keep the fun going!