CRASH! "Hush!" SMASH! "Shush!" CLANG! Perhaps, as a kid, you were lucky enough to have been
woken up by your folks gearing up for a dish towel-snapping cha-cha.
Maurie Manning catches the magic of a midnight merengue in Kitchen Dance. The parents try to be quiet, but it's so hard to wash dishes while singing love songs into a wooden spoon. Their two sleepy children tiptoe down the stairs. They crane their necks around the kitchen door for a better look and catch Dad bending Mom backward over his arm. Cheek to cheek, their parents tango the tamales to the fridge. A samba. A rumba. And then Dad flings open the door.
Busted! Mom and Dad each lift a child with open arms. Soon everyone is singing into wooden spoons and twirling in a flash of pajamas and aprons. Step by step the dance slows and the children are danced back up the stairs. After a shower of goodnight kisses, eyes flutter shut to the soft words of a love song trailing off into the night...
This is one of those tender books that successfully avoids being either too sweet or maudlin. Every child should have the experience of being whisked off to bed on the tails of a kitchen dance--and a good story.