Written by Rita-Williams Garcia
Illustrated by Damian Ward
Tap dancing on sidewalks, especially in the city's French Quarter, is a New Orleans tradition as familiar to some as Jazz, Creole and Cajun food and Mardi Gras. For generations, Black youngsters have danced for tourists on the streets of New Orleans some because they enjoy it, but many others to earn money for their families. Instead of dancing in store bought tap shoes, young boys and girls stamp and grind bottle caps into the soles of their sneakers until the bottle caps stay firmly in place at the toe. And they don't miss a beat! Clickity-clack, Clack......tipity-tap, tap tap......tipity-tap, tap In Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street, award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia introduces two bottle cap dancers, brothers Randy and Rudy. Through rich and upbeat rhyme, Williams-Garcia gives voice to the dancing and the youngsters who keep this unique New Orleans tradition alive. Damian Ward's exuberant illustrations are perfect complements to Williams-Garcia's perfectly pitched poetry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rita Williams-Garcia is the celebrated author of many acclaimed books for children and teens. Her most known title, One Crazy Summer received the Coretta Scott King Author Award, the Newbery Honor, and the Scott O Dell Historical Prize for Fiction. Rita is on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program for writing for children and young adults. She resides in Queens, New York and has two adult daughters. When Rita isn t writing, she is knitting, daydreaming, and boxing. Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street is her second picture book.
Gr 2–4—Two African American brothers battle it out in a friendly tap-dancing contest on the sidewalks of New Orleans by attaching bottle caps to the bottoms of their shoes. Williams-Garcia's fluid rhyming text, which includes the staccato onomatopoeia sounds the shoes make ("Clickety-clack-clack, Clickety-clack-clack"), makes this an enjoyable read-aloud or individual read. The boys put down boxes for tips, one for each of them, and begin not only dancing but singing as well. Throughout the performance, it seems as if the brothers are competing, but the last line sums it up happily: "'I'm a bottle cap king! And so is my brother.'" The fun, cartoonlike illustrations present the scenes from a variety of perspectives. Teachers will want to use this book for units on onomatopoeia, tap dancing, New Orleans, or just for plain fun. An author's note at the end provides definitions of culturally significant words like beignet and jambalaya. VERDICT This is an enjoyable romp through the streets of New Orleans with a fun narrative and lively illustrations. A good choice for most picture book collections.—Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2015 OKRA Pick