Publication: Already Available
Illustrated by: Bagram Ibatoulline
The Scarecrow's Dance is one of my favorite rhyming books. When an old scarecrow leaves his post in the corn field to dance the night away, he encounters something he never expected.
The scarecrow gleefully twists and twirls after being relieved of his duty to keep the cornfield free of destructive crows, but quickly returns to his post when he hears a little boy's prayer. The scarecrow realizes that even though dancing gives him joy, he is just as joyful in knowing that he is the best at keeping the fields crow-free.
Yolen touches on family, joy, and duty in this magical tale of a dancing scarecrow. The scarecrow is an great example of how one can get restless doing what he/she is supposed to do. The scarecrow has grown bored on his post and needs to get away for a while. He does so by dancing.
When the scarecrow realizes that he is needed at his post for the sake of his family (a family that cares very much for him), he feels a renewed sense of joy and pride in a job that he earlier felt was less important that self-satisfaction (dancing). Children will realize that helping family, or anyone else, might not be the most fun thing in the world, but it feels good to help someone who needs you.
Ibatoulline beautifully illustrates the didactic story. The dark colors of the first few pages accurately portray twilight and the coolness of nighttime, but leave enough color to make the reader feel joy when the scarecrow takes off dancing. The contrast of the colors when the scarecrow looks in on the praying boy is amazing. The boy's entire room is filled with warmth and love while the scarecrow stands cold, but illuminated.
My absolute favorite illustration is the pages when the scarecrow is leaping into the sky to position himself back on his pole. It is a bug's eye view of the scarecrow leaping into the air and the color, composition, and details are absolutely perfect. I have a feeling that even careful attention was paid in placing the stars in the sky.
I liked this book so much that I shared it with my nephews who are both under 3. They loved the book. The younger nephew repeated the rhyming words and the older nephew seemed to look at the barnyard illustration for hours. When the nephews visited a few days ago their first request was to read the "ska-cow" book again. And again we did. And again. And again. And again...
Rating: 5 Pages