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Children's Book Review: Dancing With Grandma

Words Are Scarcely Needed in This Delightful Picture Book

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


A grandmother and granddaughter frolic through Dancing with Grandma, a picture book from Australia.

A grandmother and granddaughter frolic through Dancing with Grandma, a delightful picture book from Australia.

Photo © Hardie Grant Egmont

The Bottom Line

A good picture book for children hardly needs words at all. A great picture book gives a grandchild and a grandparent lots to look at and talk about. When the book contains a grandparent character, along with a couple of captivating pets, that's even better! All of these are true of Dancing With Grandma, a beautifully done picture book by Tasmanian artist Rosemary Mastnak.

Publisher's Site


  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Engaging characters, both human and animal
  • Shows loving relationship
  • Lots of creative touches
  • Lovely cover art


  • Not widely available in the U.S.


  • Large landscape design
  • 28 pages
  • Hardcover
  • Full-color
  • From Hardie Grant Egmont

Guide Review

At her grandmother's house, granddaughter Anya puts together a costume suitable for a dancing princess. When Grandma sees Anya, she abandons her kitchen chores for an enthusiastic dance interlude that even attracts the resident cat. Eventually the trio frolic into the yard occupied by a giant phlegmatic dog. The dance is so infectious that even the dog is drawn in. One final ecstatic fling through the living room, and the dancers collapse on the couch. In the final drawing, it is night time, and the grandmother is reading to a pajama-clad Anya. The name of the book? Dancing With Grandma, of course!

Rosemary Mastak's lively watercolors turn this simple experience into a narrative to be lingered over. My grandchildren love tracing the various objects that figure in the dance and how they transmigrate from one dancer to another. Grandma's checked dish towel, for example, becomes a scarf, a sash, a cape, a turban and a head scarf before being commandeering by a capering cat. The overall design is impeccable. A yellow ribbon motif accompanies the text as a unifying element. Even the end papers add to the fun, with an implied narrative involving the dog and cat. One final bonus is a picture postcard that comes with the book, perfect for sending to a grandchild with the message, "Remember reading this book?"

Rosemary Mastnak is a Tasmanian artist. Hardie Grant Egmont is an Australian publisher. It may be a little extra trouble to purchase this book. It's worth it.

Also check out Mastnak's 2009 title, Cooking With Grandma, and her 2010 publication, Adventures With Grandpa.

Publisher's Site

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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