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Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

Rumbelow woke up early one fine morning to find sunlight streaming into his bedroom. Today was a special day. He was going to visit his old grandparents.

Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: On a very hot day, Rumbelow sets off to town to visit his grandparents. As it is such an exciting, hot day, Rumbelow can't help dancing as he goes on his way. He meets many people all heading in the same direction and complaining about the heat. He invites them to join in with his dancing and before they know it, they have all reached the market square, close to his grandparent's house.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 9781849394604

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Rumbelow is a little boy with a great deal of energy so walking to his grandparent's house in town is no problem for him even though it is a long way. After his mother gives him a long list of very precise directions, he sets off. Although it is a very hot day, he is so happy that he feels the need to dance rather than just walk. Before long he meets a sad-faced farmer walking along with his sad-faced pig. The farmer moans that he will never get his lazy pig to market on such a hot day. However, Rumbelow has a suggestion:

'Dance, dance, dance to the market!
Come on,' said Rumbelow, 'join in the jig;
Prancing along,
Singing a song -
What better partners than farmer than pig?'

He is obviously quite persuasive as both the farmer and his pig start dancing.

As they carry on their way, they meet lots of other characters all complaining about the heat. These include a tinker with lots of pots and pans and a flower girl with a basket full of brightly coloured flowers as well as many more. All in all, there are about a dozen more people and animals who join in with the dancing on their way to the market square and each time he meets any of them, Rumbelow makes a similar suggestion to the one above. Finally, they all arrive at the grandparents' house and tuck into a most delicious tea with home-made cakes and seventeen different kinds of sandwiches. Unsurprisingly, they all end up dancing again led by Rumbelow's energetic grandparents.

This is a very enjoyable and successful book for many reasons. Firstly, it is an entertaining tale that children will enjoy. The quirky characters all heading to the market square are diverse and perfectly illustrated. My daughters each have their own favourites and I'm sure that many children will love different characters for different reasons. The illustrations are quite wonderful and it's so much fun to see how the various people and animals accumulate and form an excitable dancing line as they travel towards the town. These pictures also match the precise instructions given by Rumbelow's mother at the start of the story. These directions are very good for helping children understand different prepositions and it would be fun to act out some of them such as going over a stile and across the stepping stones.

The fact that this is a cumulative tale works really well too. There is some repetitive text that is added to each time that a new character joins the group. Towards the end of the story you need to take a really big breath to get through the long list of things that are going on. It also means that, if they want to, young children can join in with the reading. As well as this repetition, there is also a repetitive element in the way that Rumbelow greets all of the people that he meets and children are likely to enjoy the familiarity of this greeting.

'Rumbelow's Dance' is a thoroughly entertaining story and we definitely recommend it as a great book for sharing.

Why not take a look at Mouse Trouble, another book by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake.

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Buy Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rumbelow's Dance by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at


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