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Reviewed by Carolina Restrepo for Readers' Favorite
Dayana, Dax, and The Dancing Dragon by Once Upon a Dance is a story about magic, which can be found in the smallest of places and the simplest of situations. Dayana is an avid ballet dancer; it is her passion. One day, her new baby brother arrives in the world. Dayana is very excited to play and especially dance with her baby brother, but she soon realizes that newborn babies can barely lift their heads, much less stand. Her spirit is a bit crushed by this realization but with perseverance and a lot of love, her brother starts to grow and is increasingly able to sit, crawl, etc. Dayana, whilst watching this growth, shows her brother her ballet dances and positions. Soon enough baby brother Dax is copying her. One day, as Dax plays with his flexible body and says, “goo-goo, gaa-gaa,” a dragon appears out of thin air!
Dayana, Dax, and The Dancing Dragon by Once Upon a Dance is an original book. Nowadays, it is quite difficult to be original, but this story achieves it. Apart from the unique story, the structure is extraordinary, especially for children. Every page is accompanied by a set of ballet positions for the reader to perform along with the story; this way children can get a more fun experience out of a book. I have to praise the illustrations by Olha Tkachenko. They are mesmerizing and I spent quite some time admiring them, from the colors to the originality; the dragon is beyond beautiful. I would not be surprised if this becomes a new way of creating books for children. I would have loved to have had books like this when I was a child, to be taught to do the same things the main character did! It’s a way to get closer and feel like you are part of the story.