By Cress Sia
Hartlyn Kids Media, $12.99, 32 pages

The Bamboo Dance by Cress Sia is a different kind of children’s book. As one of the Hartlyn Kids travel books introduces children and adults to the culture and heritage of the Philippines, through the eyes of Paco and Diego, two Filipino boys, as they learn the national dance called Tinikling. One of the many lessons demonstrated in this book is that “practice makes perfect, especially when you have the encouragement of your friend”.

“‘It’s okay, Diego. I will help you with your steps. You will be a good dancer in no time.’ Diego gets up and looks Paco straight in the eye. ‘No Paco. Didn’t you see? I just embarrassed myself. I will never be good at that stupid dance!’ Diego wipes away his tears and walks away. ‘I’m going home!’ he yells.”

This well made, beautifully illustrated book is a great teaching tool for parents. Not only does The Bamboo Dance teach about cultural differences, it also teaches important lessons about behavior, and respect. I marveled at Ms. Sia’s ability to weave so many lessons into an interesting story. The child won’t realize how many things they’re learning because it’s such a fun read. I haven’t seen the rest of the books in this series of travel books, but if this one is any indication, parents should probably consider obtaining not only The Bamboo Dance but the entire series as well. The art and book design by Lisa Butler is first class, but somewhat different, which makes The Bamboo Dance even more interesting.


Reviewed by David Broughton,