________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 5. . . .September 30, 2011


Spice Kapita, That Dancin' Guy.

Lp Camozzi. Illustrated by Marielle Lorraine Camozzi.
Montreal, PQ: Lp Creative, 2011.
36 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-9737367-1-7.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*1/2 /4



Say hello to
Spice Kapita -
Born to dance,
A world-beater.

Began to dance
When barely one,
In the doorway
Where he swung.

His baby jumps
Were right in tune
When Daddy's music
Filled the room.


Spice Kapita was born to dance. As a baby, he boogied in his Jolly Jumper, and, as a child, he danced on school desks. Dreaming of fame, he longed to "bring the world/To his stage door." A magical dance step machine helps him achieve his goals. For the price of 2 cents, this game transports Spice around the world and allows him to explore different dance styles and cultures. In quick succession, he travels to Russia, Spain, Turkey, Tanzania, Argentina, Brazil, Hawaii, and Japan before heading back to Canada. Along the way, he is schooled in the art of nine dances, including the tango, hula and capoeira. When his dance step machine journey is over, he returns home "a man." He stops into a ballet school, and everyone is impressed with his knowledge of "the world dance score", and he soon becomes a ballet star.

internal art     Camozzi's pencil crayon and watercolour illustrations are bold and colourful. The style of art complements the style of dance described: the Japanese kabuki scene features delicate lines and cherry blossom trees; the flamenco scene has deep red tones and sultry shadows; the whirling dervish scene has lots of movement and a busy, geometrically designed background.

      The story is told in rhyming verses and has a bouncy rhythm. Unfortunately, there are several awkward rhymes, such as: "No more inclined/For dance combat,/ Hot tropic beach/ Spice soon was at"; "More like theatre,/ This strange play dance,/Where men do wear /The women's pants"; "Round and round/ These Turkish spin,/Emptying their hearts/Of every whim."

      The page design also has some problematic features. The text is hard to read because it appears in all upper case letters. The loose font style makes the letter "G" look like the number "6."

      Readers might wonder where Spice's love for ballet came from and what he liked more about ballet than the other dances he tried. At the end of the story, it is noted, "He's still the same since he began./Except that Spice is now a man." I was hoping to see some more development. While we know Spice loves to dance, we don't get to know much more about him. The world dance theme is very intriguing, but the text and characterization needs a bit more work.

Not recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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