7.25.2011

Children's Book Review: "Carla & Leo's World Of Dance" by Agatha Relota


I was so excited when I was asked to review a copy of Carla & Leo's World Of Dance for my blog! There is little I love and cherish more than children's literature and this just seemed like such a great book right from the moment I pulled it from it's packaging. I couldn't wait to read this story and share it with Ethan!

Ethan's aunt Megan (my younger sister) is a dancer...
...so it's safe to say Ethan will grow up to share my spot as her #1 fan in the audience at her performances and competitions! I thought that it would be really cool to have a book about dancing for this reason, so that he can understand more about something his aunt Megan is passionate about and what she works so hard at to win all of those trophies and medals (yeah, I'm bragging. Yeah, I'm a proud sister!).

Luckily for us, Ethan's aunt Megan came over one day after a day of dance classes (jazz, in this case!) and couldn't wait to share the story with Ethan.



The three of us sat down together and Ethan listened -- er, slept? -- as Megan and I read him the story of Carla and Leo and their journey into the world of dance!



Since Ethan is too little to give his honest review, I'll take over and say that this was such a fantastic book! Although supposedly geared towards ages 8-10, I have to say that I truly believe this is a book that spans several different age groups. The illustrations, done beautifully by Thierry Perez, are so bright and utterly captivating that they will undoubtedly enchant any small child who lays eyes on them. The storyline, though youthfully narrated to appeal to a younger crowd, still packs so many facts and lessons on cultures of the world that even an adult could learn so many cool facts. For example, did you know that the name 'waltz' came from German and means 'to revolve?' I didn't!

As a mother to a little boy, I cannot stress enough how much I loved that there was a male character, Leo, who participated in dance lessons and admitted to falling in love with the world of dance. I can't tell you how frequently people tell me that it's a shame my son can't dance with his aunt Megan one day because he's a boy, but maybe one day I'll have a daughter who will be able to. I want to raise my son to know that there is nothing shameful, wrong or even remotely strange about a male who dances and I love how the character of Leo perfectly illustrates that.

The story begins as Carla and Leo, two small children, pass by a dance studio and beg the teacher to teach them to dance. Throughout a magical world painted by interesting facts, geographical and cultural lessons and whimsical illustrations, Carla and Leo learn all about various types of dancing from swing dancing to the rumba.

I love the cultural boundaries that are explored in this book. From Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock to learning dances that originated in Africa and beyond, Carla and Leo explore different cultures other than their own that they may have otherwise never learned about if not thanks to the world of dance. They learn capitals, countries and the origins of many words and dances. As Miss Paulina teaches them world dances and their origins, Carla and Leo seemingly travel the world themselves, getting to experience the different cultures of the world through the music and their dancing.

Something else I love was that they learn confidence. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Carla and Leo were wondering if one day they could accomplish something and the dance teacher responds with: "Of course you can! You can do anything you want! You just have to put your mind to it and work hard."



I briefly touched on this at the beginning, but the illustrations are just mind-blowing. I'm racking my brain trying to remember another book illustrated so beautifully and magically but I simply can't. Each page is illustrated to perfection with the most colorful and bold illustrations. Even the most intricate details are displayed beautifully, like how the Brazilian flag colors are used to paint the pages where Carla and Leo learn dances from Brazil.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was informative and enchanting and able to teach little readers so much about the world and various cultures. The beautiful illustrations and lovable characters are just an added extra!

For more information on Carla & Leo's World Of Dance by Agatha Relota (who is a fashion model, by the way, and the book has a forward by Jessica Alba!), visit http://www.carlaandleo.com.

You can also purchase Carla & Leo's World Of Dance (a beautiful hardcover) for $15.56 on Amazon.

14 comments:

  1. My girls might even enjoy that book! =] I'll have to take a look for it.

    How can someone say that your son can't enjoy dance b/c he's a male? That's just rude and sexist. He can do whatever he wants (well, with what Mommy & Daddy allow!) I would never keep my girls from doing something that made them incredibly happy. That's what we're parents for -- to fullfill our childrens dreams!

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