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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It has been said many times that life is like a dance. There’s the waltz, the foxtrot, the swing, and many other dances that swirl us around through life. A little boy shares a love of dance with his Grandma Ging Ging. From the time he was a baby, Ging Ging would dance with the boy every time they were together. And, with each new dance she taught him, she sang her special song, “Dance when you get the chance, dear one…” As the two share wonderful milestones such as a first bike ride, making pizza from scratch, and the wedding dance, the boy never forgets. Even when Ging Ging is too old to dance, he lifts her up and twirls her around in his arms, singing his own version of Ging Ging’s song, “You danced when you had the chance, dear one…”
Tears in your eyes yet? They are in mine. There is a special bond that a child shares with a grandmother, a bond of unconditional love and joy, laughter and tears, and dancing, singing, and playing together. Ingrid Deringer brings it all together so eloquently in her touching picture book story, Shall We Dance? More compassionate and emotional than Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever, this book will touch the hearts of young and old alike. I love the song that is repeated throughout, the song that the boy, now a man, re-words to honor his Grandma Ging Ging. The plot begins with the boy as a baby, a two-year-old, a teenager, a young man, and the most touching moment of all when he gathers Ging Ging into his arm when she is too old to dance on her own two feet. The illustrations are lovely, subtle, and sweet, just like the story. Absolutely beautiful. Loved it.