Song and Dance Man

by Karen Ackerman

Other authorsStephen Gammell (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1988



Call number




Knopf Books for Young Readers (2003), 32 pages


Grandpa demonstrates for his visiting grandchildren some of the songs, dances, and jokes he performed when he was a vaudeville entertainer.

User reviews

LibraryThing member achatela
This story tells about the song and dance man who is introduced to these kids upon a visit to their grandparents house. He's a great story that shows these kids the good old days as told by there grandpas. The illustrations from the picture add so much more to the book.
LibraryThing member Whisper1
This 1989 Caldecott medal book is a sheer delight.

When his grandchildren visit, they prod their grandfather to go into the attic and find his shoes, hat and cane and to put on a show.

As a vaudeville tap dancer, grandpa has many wonderful memories.

Captivating the children, who respectfully sit and
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watch the lovely show, all deserve a round of applause -- the children for loving their grandpa so much that they are interested in his previous life, and good ole grandpa who dims the lights, dons the top hat and clicks his way into a special place in their hearts.
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LibraryThing member kirkonly
The title explains the book to a “T”. It is about a man who used to be a vaudeville stage performer. Now he is a grandpa, but when his grandchildren come over he takes them up to the attic and transforms back into the song and dance man of old. An awesome book!

As a reader I liked the book a
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lot. I am very close with both of my grandpas, both with different characteristic, but when I was reading this book I imagined my grandpa doing the same thing. The pictures were not of good quality, but I didn’t find myself using them very much.

As a teacher I felt that this book was the perfect book to use when/if starting a classroom family tree and personal family tree. My students could describe what they do with certain family members when they are with them.
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LibraryThing member cry6546
This fictional story brings history to everyday life. Grandpa tells his grandchildren about life before television and decides to go to the attic to show them what he did. Grandpa got his tap shoes and had the lamp shine like it did when he performed on vaudeville. The children put on hats and
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watch their grandfather as he performs. The children cheer for their grandpa and go down stairs. Grandpa looks up at the attic and tells the children he misses the old days, but he would not trade a million good old day for the time he spends with them.

This story gives a great way to introduce history to children. It will help the children connect to the past and that their grandparents had different lives in the past. The mood of this story was exciting. The children and the grandpa were excited about the past.

One idea could be to create the vaudeville show in the classroom. Another idea could be to ask the children to predict what will happen based on the cover of the story and see if they are correct.
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LibraryThing member ccondra
After they read the book make and interview sheet for questions that they can ask their grandmother or grandfather about what they use to do.
LibraryThing member mickmyster13
I have always wanted an attic with chests of old treasures! This is such a fun story about a grandpa who dances and entertains with the old clothes and shoes in a chest in the attic. I think it would be a fun project to read this book and then have students write a story about what they would find
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in their attic and who they would be in the attic with them. the students could draw a picture to go with their story too. I'm not sure what medium the illustrator used, but it looks like crayon or colored pencil. I also enjoyed this book because I have never had a grandpa but I have always thought of having a grandpa that performs magic tricks and pulls a coin out of my ear. He is the classic grandpa.
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LibraryThing member barnes08
This book is about three little kids who visit their grandparents. The grandpa was a song and dance man, when he was younger. While grandma cooks supper the kids and grandpa goes to the attic. Grandpa pulls out an old chest that smells like cedar chips. The chest has grandpas old tap shoes, hats,
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vest and bow ties. The children pretend they were dancing. Starting out slowly getting a little faster, grandpa sang Yankee Doodle Boy while dancing. Grandpa did all kinds of moves with his cane. The kids clapped when grandpa was done dancing. The children hugged grandpa and enjoyed the day remembering the good old days of dancing.

The book deals with aging, the grandpa tells of his past. I think the best part is that grandpa shared his past with the kids. I enjoyed the dancing parts with hat and cane. The connection the grandpa has with his grandkids is inspiring to all grandparents. I hope someday I can have the same connection with my grandkids.

This book would be great on grandparent’s day. It might be fun to let the children the dance and sing ‘Yankee Doodle boy’. Talk to the class about the different time frames, how things change. Talk about how the grandpa was once young.
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LibraryThing member servantHEART
Grandkids staying at grandpa and grandma's house learn of grandpa's "song and dance days" on the vaudeville stage. The children get a glimpse of grandpa's talent in tap shoes and slide of hand. At the end of the story, grandpa glances up the attic stairs for one last glimpse of the glory days.

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absolutely love the colored pencil illustrations. The color dances on the page. The illustrator makes grandpa's shoe color shine and reflect on the dance floor. The author captures the full range of reader's emotions in a visit to grandpa's.

In the classroom, I would use this book to supplement a history lesson about pre-Depression days. It would introduce a familiar spelling word from the unit, "vaudeville."
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LibraryThing member darleneua
This book would be good for 2nd grade. It talks about things in the old days, and children would probably be curious about those things.
LibraryThing member lindyvee
This Caldecott Winner is about an old man who was once a vaudeville performer and enjoys entertaining his grandchildren. On their visit, he takes them to the attic and shows them an old trunk full of costumes and tap shoes. He tries them on and puts on a show which delights the children. After he
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finishes, the children clap and beg for more. They wonder if he misses the old days when he was on the stage.

With this story, I was reminded of the days when I would sit on my grandfather's lap and listen to the colorful stories of when he was younger. I can remember watching him sing and dance. I believe the author uses this story to touch the reader and the listener alike.

The story could be used to introduce children to different eras in the history of the American entertainment industry. They could even put on a vaudeville show of their own. Another way to use this story would be to open a discussion about the value of the older generation and how they could ask their grandparents to tell them stories of when they were young.
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LibraryThing member KaetlynBrennan
This book is about a Grandfather who used to be a famous song and dance man back when he was younger. While going through the attic, his grandchildren find his tap shoes and some old costumes. The Grandfather begins to tell them the story of when he used to be a performer. He entertains them for
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hours and hours.

This has always been my favorite book. I used to read it all of the time when i was younger.

Children can have a story share time and tell stories of when their grandparents were younger and bring in items from them.
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LibraryThing member whitneyw
This a great book about a grandfather who is up in age but puts on a show for his grand children, like he used to when he was young.
LibraryThing member ashclark
Summary: This is the story of a grandfather that lets his grandchildren peek in on his old life as a vaudeville dancer.
Personal Reaction: I really liked this story it is very sweet and it reminded me that my own grandparents had lives before I came along.
Classroom Extension: This book could be an
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extension on a lesson about entertainment in the past. It would also be a good story for lesson that helps students relate to their own grandparents.
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LibraryThing member mcdarden
Grandpa loved entertaining. He teaches his grandchildren that love for one another is extremely important. Grandpa will never forget his song and dance days, but loves his grandchildren dearly.
LibraryThing member dtortorice
A touching story for anyone who has ever thought about what its like to grow old and a great story to open kids eyes that those old people in their lives were once young like they are! Children are visiting grandpa when a trip to the attic becomes a trip down memory lane as he dons his old stage
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act and becomes the "Song and Dance Man".
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LibraryThing member Jessica24
This contemporary realistic fiction book tells of a grandpa who used to be a song and dance man a long time ago. He takes his grandchildren to the attic where he tries on old hats and pretends he is a dancer. He does magic tricks and sings and dances. At the end, he looks back and misses those
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I enjoyed this book because my own grandfather used to be a singer and i loved him showing us the things he used to do. This is a great contemporary relaitsic fiction book because it talks about human relationships.

In the classroom I would, a whole unit on CRF. I would play a game of who is the best singer and dancer in the class.
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LibraryThing member kathellenahagen
This book is about a grandpa who dance on the vaudeville stage. When the grandkids visit, he talk about the song and dance that he did in the good old days. The grandpa takes the grandkids to the attic and see if he still has the clothes and stuff that he used when he dance. He find them and show
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the grandkids the moves. The grandkids love the dance and song and really enjoyed the show.

Personal Reation
I enjoyed the story. Its a great book for younger kids. The picture are just wonderful thoughtout the story. It remind me when i was young the stories that my granddad would tell me about and the things that he used to do when he was a kid.

Extension Ideas
1. Have the kids act out a music play
2. Have the students make a list for all the different kinds of instruments.
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LibraryThing member TonieleHazel
The Song and Dance man is about a grandpa who puts on a show for his grandchildren. He used to be a tap dancer on stage and gave the children a little glimpse into his old days. The children loved it, but grandpa reassured them that he would rather spend the time with his grandchildren.
LibraryThing member heby
I was instantly hooked by the colorful and lively illustrations of this book. The characters have such life and you feel the movement of the 'song and dance man' as he performs for his grandchildren. I could feel the nostalgia of the grandfather but his deeper love for his grandchildren.
LibraryThing member VerrillC
When I am teaching my students how to write Show not tell paragraphs or teaching them about similes and metaphors, this would be a great book to use. It is fun and it has memorable language.
LibraryThing member weeksie50
This delightful book written by Karen Ackerman depicts a fun and loving relationship between a grandfather and his grandchildren. The children are delighted with their grandfather's antics and his tales of a time long ago when he was young, dancing on the vaudeville stage. The book depicts the
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grandfather as an energetic and vivacious elderly person and a joy for his grandchildren.

I would use this book when talking about extended families and generation gaps.
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LibraryThing member sbuckner
Song and Dance Man is one of those happy books. On a sad dreary day this is the book to read. To have this book in the classroom would show the kids that having fun is aloud. That singing and dancing and reminiscing about found memories is a good thing. As a future teacher I would recommend this
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book to myself to have in my personal library.
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LibraryThing member kwilk
Summary: This story is about a grandpa showing his grandchildren how he danced in the "good ole days." The children are amazed by how entertaining the song and dance can be.

Personal Reaction: As soon as I opened the book and saw the pictures I was hooked. It made me think of my own grandparents and
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how thier lives were so much different many years ago.

Classroom Extention: 1. After reading this book you can bring in a tap dancer to show the kids in person what tap dancing looks and sounds like. 2. This book can introduce a lesson about grandparents.
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LibraryThing member kidlit9
Grandpa demonstrates for his visiting grandchildren some of the songs, dances, and jokes he performed when he was a vaudeville entertainer.
LibraryThing member Brooklynn1992
Summary: A grandfather shares with his grandchildren his great talent of singing and dancing. The grandfather was a song and dance man who once performed on the vaudeville stage.

Personal Reaction: I loved this book because it is always fun to learn about your grandparents' past. My grandpa was a
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singer/songwriter and performed on many stages, so this book reminded me of him.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. You could use this book on Grandparents' Day.
2. Have the kids interview their grandparents or someone that knew them very well and learn something about them. Then you could have the kids share on Grandparents' Day.
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Caldecott Medal (Medal Winner — 1989)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1990)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades K-2 — 1991)
Society of Midland Authors Award (Winner — Children's Fiction — 1989)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1993)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1990)
Minnesota Book Awards (Finalist — Children's — 1989)




Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

10.81 inches


0394893301 / 9780394893303

Other editions

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