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Once Upon a Dance
Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute
Boisterous bats, zany zombies, and giddy ghosts await readers in this tale of sibling friendship, silly creatures, and magical music. In the Dance-It-Out series, created by an award-winning dance teacher, children act and move alongside the characters, and Ballerina Konora joins each page with movement suggestions. In this story, Fynn, Freya, cats, bats, ghosts, and zombies assemble for a captivating story of music, magic, and mayhem.
Mary Lanni, Independent Librarian Reviewer

Siblings Freya and Flynn love visiting their Aunt Gail; even the journey to her island home is an adventure! Though Aunt Gail’s cottage can be unsettling in the dark because of its creaky floorboards, surrounding darkness, and spooky cobwebs, daylight sets any troubling thoughts aside. When noises in the attic awaken Flynn in the middle of the night and he goes to investigate, he discovers the source of stories told in town and the purpose of his aunt’s mysterious magic flute.

This latest in the canon of stories by Once Upon a Dance is a delightful Halloween read, incorporating ghosts and zombies in a suspenseful and dance-centered context. Like the others in the series, the book is subdivided into three segments, with illustrations on the left side of the spread and the narrative sharing space on the right side with instructions for readers to attempt to move their bodies along with the story. Images of Ballerina Konora give readers ideas of how to express themselves based on the narrative, but there is ample flexibility to bring the story to life however readers prefer.

Colorful, expressive illustrations support the plot, highlighting specific elements like the age of Aunt Gail’s cottage and the exciting ferry trip to get there. Dancers appear in many of the images, reminding readers of the importance of movement and physical expression throughout the book. The whimsical nature of both the magical flute and the mysterious attic visitors are clearly depicted in the illustrations, enhancing their connection to one another through the charming visuals. Detailed and engaging, the pictures are a delightful component of this enjoyable tale.

Dancers of all ages and backgrounds will love joining in with the myriad characters in this book, especially around the Halloween holiday. While there is a spooky component, however, the overall message features the importance of familial love and doing what is necessary to keep others safe. Magical and heartwarming, this story can be experienced in many different ways, whether readers wish to enjoy the tale on its own or are ready to bring it to life through movement. This is a lovely addition to library collections for elementary school-aged readers who love to move.