Closet Terpsichorian: Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer
RUPERT LOVED TO WATCH MANDY DANCE.
THE ONLY TIME SHE STOPPED DANCING WAS WHEN SHE WENT TO SLEEP!
But watching is just not enough. Rupert himself wants to dance. He longs to leap and twirl and kick and swivel lithely as only a feline can.
But felis silvestris domesticus is a secretive species. No one must know, so Rupert waits until Mandy is deep in slumber, slips into her closet, and pulls on her blue ballet slippers.
And Rupert dances. He is lithe and limber. He slithers and swishes. He twirls and swizzles his tail. His eyes glow and his paws know no pause until dawn draws near and he has to curl up and pretend to be nothing more than a cuddly cat.
It is Rupert's little secret.
But then one night Mandy wakes up and witnesses Rupert's routine.
Rupert's solo career is wrecked, but Mandy is delighted. Now she had a dancing partner, just what she has always secretly wanted.
But Rupert resists. He hides under her bed, peering nervously out from under the quilt. Mandy stands where she is sure Rupert can watch and shows him the basic foot positions. Rupert refuses to take the bait.
Can Mandy trick Rupert into doing a duet? What if she pretends that she simply can't get that step right? She slips. She trips. She seems to have two left feet.
And of course Rupert falls for the ploy and soon creeps out to show her just how it's done, in Jules Feifer's latest, Rupert Can Dance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014). One glance at the cover, with Feiffer's gung ho cat lost in la danse, would make anyone (even a dog) laugh. Feiffer's trademark sketchy, wobbly black line and marker coloring gives Rupert just the right quirky, crazed cat look as he and Mandy demonstrate their pas de deux. A fitting book for ballet lovers and cat fanciers, which is most of the feminine readership of picture books these days, this one pairs well with Anna Kemp's pugnacious, pirouetting, prima pug, Bif, in Dogs Don't Do Ballet (Read review here).