A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches a love of dance and expression.
Dancing is fun and joyous. Sometimes we can help friends move beyond their shyness. Different creatures or people have different personalities -- some are more private than others -- and that's OK.
Positive Role Models
Mandy wants to help Rupert, but, when he doesn't respond to direct offers, she thinks of a clever solution: She asks him to help her. Mandy's a caring and thoughtful friend. With her help, Rupert is able to move beyond his shyness. Both take great pleasure in physical expression, artistry, and performing. Mandy models thoughtfulness for friends' feelings and acceptance of differences in personality.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the charming Rupert Can Dance is by multitalented Jules Feiffer, author/illustrator of numerous picture books, illustrator of the classic The Phantom Tollbooth, and Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist. As a cartoonist, he created a signature modern dance character who famously danced across the pages of the Village Voice. In this book, he reimagines that dancer as a young girl named Mindy who learns some moves from her cat, Rupert, who's been dancing in secret. The story has plenty of Feiffer's trademark humor and psychological insight, and, though his illustration style is wispily sketchy, Mandy's positions are technically accurate and will satisfy the critical eye of trained dancers.
Is It Any Good?
Author-illustrator Jules Feiffer is an expert at depicting the joy of movement; his iconic modern dancer was always expressively joyous. Now that she's pictured as a young girl in RUPERT CAN DANCE, there's an additional youthful buoyancy, and she seems to fly off the page. Mandy's dancing is infectious, and there's sly psychological insight in the observations about cats being free spirits and therefore not liking lessons.
The last page, with the two dancing together on the big stage -- Mandy grown up and Rupert in a top hat and tails (referencing another classic Feiffer character) -- is shiver-inducing and feels perfectly right.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.