Years ago, my dad (who was a painting contractor) had a client who noticed the t-shirt he was wearing. It was my (knock-off) Rockette t-shirt (my mom did the laundry and didn’t pay attention to the fact that it was not one of my dad’s shirts and put it with his work clothes. I was a bigger teen; my dad a smaller guy). The client informed my dad that A) it was not official and B) did he know she was a Rockette herself? Well this 70-odd-year-old lady had been a Rockette and still had spunk! She would pass away several years before Sydney Mesher was even born, but while I was reading She Kept Dancing: The True Story of a Professional Dancer with a Limb Difference I was wondering what she and the other ladies would have thought of Mesher. You see, Mesher was the first Radio City Rockette with a visible disability. She is limb different with her 10 toes and five fingers.
Mesher, along with Catherine Laudone and Natelle Quek (illustrations), created a picture book that shows her journey from a perfect baby with long toes (which convinced her mother she was going to be a dancer), to the days of being part of the group which included some of the most famous dancers of the country. Granted, the journey is predictable, but remarkably enjoyable and even exciting to follow. Of course, the highlights of her life are what is focused on, and though her difficulties are presented, those are not really dwelled on.There is an obvious pro self-esteem/image theme, as well as a pro disability slant to things, but it is not overly pushy or does not talk down to the audience.
The artwork continues the bright, positive messages and themes. They are light and colorful, with the right amount of details. Things are almost dance-like and bouncy. They are a nice supporting cast to the text and make things flow well. Between then and the text, things are positive and hopeful.
Read via an online reader copy.