At the Animal Ball

posted in: Ella Bailey | 0

9781782402305Get your glad rags on, pull out your dancing shoes and join me At the Animal Ball by Ella Bailey! A delightful, playful action-packed flap book mixing costume design and dance moves in such a fun way, this is a board book with a difference.

Bailey’s illustrations are fantastic, using great colour combinations and lovely details. Her use of texture adds a vintage touch, reminding me of the collection of dolls’ in national costumes I had as a child. Fans of of Marc Boutavant‘s work will not be disappointed; Bailey’s cute (but not cutesy) funky animals seem to me to be Mouk‘s friendly cousins, dressed in a wide range of get-ups inspired by national costumes around the world, from kilts to grass skirts, sarongs and even leather jackets.

Each page is split into three so readers can mix and match heads, tops and bottoms, creating their own bespoke tailoring. Each flap also comes with its own dance moves, from fluttering a fan to shaking a rattle, stamping your feet and wiggling your hips: By combining any three flaps, you could choreograph your own dance!

The charming animals and the beautiful clothes combined with the great excuse to boogie make this a winner of a book – and not just for kids who can’t sit still whilst they’re being read to. It’s fun, pretty and robust – this larger-than-average board book utilises a little bit of simple engineering to make sure the satisfyingly chunky pages of At the Animal Ball can put up with lots of to-ing and fro-ing.

Lovely, lively and full of flaps – an glorious read for anyone with young kids!




Inspired by the fabulous illustrations and this video…

…we made some masks (there’s nothing like a masked ball, is there?)….


…and had lots of fun dressing up in all sorts of finery and breaking out some moves… This video of our antics makes us laugh a lot!

Whilst dressing up we danced to these toe-tapping tunes (but unfortunately couldn’t include them in our video because of copyright issues):

  • Animal Ball by Lizzie Miles, and the same song but in a different arrangement – At The Animals’ Ball by Bobby Short
  • The Ugly Bug Ball sung by Burl Ives
  • Animal Dance by Phil Rosenthal & Randy Gates. I’m a sucker for a bit of bluegrass. You can hear a better quality extract here.

  • Other activities which would go well with reading At the Animal Ball include:

  • Playing Head, Bodies, Tails – you just need some paper and pencils and away you go!
  • Reading two other mix-and-match books I love – Mixed Up Fairy Tales and Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes by Hilary Robinson and Nick Sharratt
  • Making fans – to decorate or to dance with! I like this tutorial, this one and also this one.

  • When did you last get down and boogie?

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this post where we made a glitter disco ball or this very pink post featuring a perfect flamingo.

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