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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Mina's Rain Dance, written by Sarah-Luisa McAneney and illustrated by Zita Varga, is a children's picture book about a young girl with a passion for dance. The book begins with a glimpse into Mina's dance class where her lack of finesse and inability to stick to the routine set the story's tone. In a matter of moments, a heartbreaking decision is made by Mina's dance teacher that her uncoordinated enthusiasm is a danger to other dancers and she will not be allowed to perform with them. Her disappointment is palpable but her creativity is soon channeled in a different way. Mina's community is facing a drought and she puts her whole heart into learning about how she might be able to make it better. It turns out her love of dancing serves a bigger purpose.
Mina's Rain Dance is the best children's book I have read this year. Sarah-Luisa McAneney has written a gem of a tale that my daughter has requested outside the normal bedtime readings. She loves books but this is a very, very special one. Mina is a firecracker of a child who embraces everything and truly does embody the best of a child's devotion in all things. As for the illustrations, they are absolutely breathtaking. Zita Varga breathes life into Mina, her family, and her community with an earthy palette that covers virtually every corner of the page. There is one particular scene where the rain is pouring down and I swear, it was as if I could smell the petrichor right off the paper. This is a fantastic book and I look forward to more out of this dream-team author-illustrator duo. I would give this book a whole bucket of stars if I could. Highly recommended.