Josephine Wants to Dance

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Josephine Wants to Dance Book Poster Image
Giddy tale of a can-do dancing kangaroo.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Josephine is a very confident, enthusiastic character.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this energetic story may get kids up and dancing -- just like the audience in the story right after they see their very first dancing kangaroo. So it may not be the best wind-'em-down bedtime book.

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Adult Written by8448 April 9, 2008

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What's the story?

Instead of jumping around all day, Josephine the joey (young kangaroo) imitates the dance moves of other animals. One day she spots a poster for the ballet and heads into town to watch, learning everything she sees through a window. When the prima ballerina can't dance the day of the performance, guess who leaps up to the challenge?

Is it any good?

Get ready for some jumping around at story time -- the energy in this book is infectious. Bruce Whatley's fantastically spry illustrations show Josephine the joey leaping from one page to the next, head tossed jubilantly and confidently this way and that, giant feet pointed, sweeping, and kicking. Author Jackie French seems to have a real love for her native Australian creatures, giving them personality and whimsy.

Josephine never seems discouraged -- just excited to try something new, a wonderful outlook for kids who are just starting school. She's so confident she can step in for the ballerina that the humans barely think twice as they make the biggest ballet shoes imaginable. And, of course, she looks pretty adorable in a pink tutu.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Josephine's can-do spirit. Where does she learn her first dance moves? Why does her brother tell her that kangaroos don't dance? Also, have you ever seen a brogla or a lyrebird? Where do they come from? Can you dance like an animal dances?

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