Heart-y Reading: Tulip Loves Rex by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
FROM THE MOMENT SHE WAS BORN, TULIP LOVED TO DANCE.
WHILE THE OTHER BABIES WERE LEARNING TO CRAWL, TULIP WAS READY TO SPIN.
TULIP'S FIRST WORDS WERE "WHIRL" AND "TWIRL" AND "LEAP."
Tulip is a girl who dances to a different drummer, and "gotta dance" seems to be her modus viviendi. She leaps and skips and gallops cheerfully through her days as she grows. Preferring the outdoors to a ballet studio, she balances on logs and leaps over puddles as she heads out on errands with her mother.
On day she discovers a big, shaggy dog in the park. There is a note on his collar with a strange admission:
MY NAME IS REX.
I AM NOT LIKE OTHER DOGS.
Hmmm. To Tulip he looks like a regular dog. She tries throwing a ball. "Fetch, Rex!"
Rex seems uninterested and goes for a good ear scratch.
Tulip tries a command. "SIT!" Rex yawns and rolls over.
"THAT'S OKAY, REX. WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING WE LIKE TO DO."
Tulip leaves Rex to his roll and launches into her dance routine, and to her surprise, the recumbent Rex rises, barks, and begins to spin and sashay with her. They dance together until her parents call to tell her it's time to go home. Tulip hates to leave her new partner and does a final spin, finishing off with a handstand right in front of the appreciative dog. Then she sees what is written on the other side of the sign on Rex's collar.
WILL YOU TAKE ME HOME?
It's a pet adoption made in heaven for the Terpsichorean two, and Tulip has found the perfect friend and dancing dog for her, in Alyssa Satin Capucilli's newest, Tulip Loves Rex (HarperCollins, 2014). While the precocious prima Tulip comes over as a bit platitudinous, Sarah Massini's illustrations are full of color and motion, with Rex as the real star of the show, ears flapping and tail wagging as he and Tulip rock the room with their routines. A trip-the-light-fantastic (emphasis on the fantasy part) little love story, as light on its feet as its theme of finding the right someone to share your bliss, that will appeal to both dance and dog lovers.