Song and Dance Man Literature Guide

Use a handy teacher guide to explore Song and Dance Man, a book that gives children a look at Vaudeville.
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Song and Dance Man Literature Guide

by Karen Ackerman

Song and Dance Man The attic becomes a vaudeville stage as Grandpa performs for his grandchildren just as he did in the good old days, when he was a song and dance man. This Caldecott Award winner is sure to delight your students. Just click on a topic below and enjoy your dancing!

Enrichment Activities
Internet Resources
Books by Karen Ackerman

Enrichment Activities

Before the story
Introduce the story by asking the children:

  • Have you ever been in a talent show or been part of the audience for a show?
  • What were some of the acts?
  • Were the performers silly or serious?
  • Is anyone in your family an entertainer?
  • Has anybody ever heard of vaudeville?
  • What do you suppose people did for entertainment before television and movies and computers?

After the story

  • Spread out in the room and ask the kids to try a tap dance of their own.
  • Ask the children if they enjoy spending time with their grandparents or older family members? Have their grandparents shared something about their past that they really enjoyed doing when they were younger? If so, what were some of the activities or hobbies?
  • What is involved in putting on a show? Costumes, scenery, choreography, etc.
  • Why is it fun to be a part of a show? Why is it fun to be part of the audience?

Put on a talent show!

Change your meeting area into a stage. Provide a box full of dress-up clothes and props or ask the children to make their props with the art supplies in the classroom and bring in some items from home. Ask the music teacher about borrowing some small instruments and allow the children to design their own acts. Turn off the lights and use a floor lamp or a flashlight as a spotlight to shine on each child who wants to perform. Kids might want to sing, dance, play instruments, or tell jokes.

Watch a performance of one of the great musical entertainers of the past.

If you have access to a VCR, borrow one or two film classics from a local video store that feature great song and dance artists, such as Al Jolson, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye or Gregory Hines. Rewind to a good dance number . for example, where Gene Kelly soft shoes to "Singing in the Rain," or Shirley Temple does the sailor. s hornpipe on the "Good Ship Lollipop." Play it for the children. Compare and contrast the old shows to the new ones. Ask the kids how today. s shows are different from years past. How have the costumes changed? How has the music and the movements changed? How has television and film perhaps changed how performers entertain us?

Read a related book

The Piano Man
by Deborah Newton Chocolate
ISBN: 0802775780
Publisher: Walker & Co.
In this picture book, an African American girl tells the story of her grandfather, a piano man who performed in a silent movie house, a Broadway theater, a medicine show, and vaudeville.
Grade Level:Pre-K, Primary, Intermediate
Historical Fiction

Georgia Music

by Helen V. Griffith
ISBN: 0688060714
Publisher: Mulberry Books
A sweet story about a young girl and her grandfather. When the grandfather has to move from his cabin in Georgia he becomes depressed, but his granddaughter knows exactly why and how to cheer him up.
Grade Level: Pre-K, Primary, Intermediate
Realistic Fiction

Mirette on the High Wire

by Emily Arnold McCully
ISBN: 0698114434
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
The story takes place in late nineteenth century Paris when a young girl, Mirette, meets a an older man that used to be a famous tightrope walker.
Grade Level: Pre-K, Primary, Intermediate
Historical Fiction
About the author

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