________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 17. . . .January 6, 2012


Spice Kapita, That Dancin' Guy.

Lp Camozzi. Illustrated by Marielle Lorraine Camozzi.
Montreal, PQ: Lp Creative, 2011.
36 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-9737367-1-7.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4



Pat (Lp) Camozzi has established a small advertising and communications firm, Lp Creative, which has now taken on the role of small Montreal press in publishing this book. Camozzi is the author, and his daughter, Marielle Lorraine Camozzi, has done the illustrations.

internal art     The rhyming text follows chunky Spice Kapita from infancy to late adolescence. Born to dance, (His baby jumps were right in tune/When Daddy's music filled the room), he longs to find something special in the world to inform and inspire his art. Then he finds the dance machine.

For just two cents it starts to beat.
Pull that lever and move your feet.
But this machine was more than chance
'Twas a secret door to the world of dance.

     Going from the Russian steppes and its lively folk music to the land of flamenco to capoeira and kabuki, Spice ends up back in Canada. His experience has apparently prepared him to train for a career as a ballet star.

When he performed le grand jete,
No one could soar Kapita's way.
He'd danced the world for kings and more.
And they were sure he'd been there before.

    As with a lot of books written in verse, the scansion here has had to be assisted with a shoehorn. The rhyme and rhythm do drive the story, the subject of which depends a lot on a beat, but some of the resulting stanzas are awkward. The bright art has a strong line and a somewhat primitivist feel. The picture of the red and gold Tanzanian plain with elephants silhouetted against a setting sun is full of atmosphere, but the text makes no mention of masks, so young readers could be forgiven for believing that African dancers, as they are shown here, are a strange and frightening species. Other spreads, such as the one showing the audience watching Spike at the pinnacle of his ballet career, look like high school art projects.

      Lp Camozzi says on his website that he is a lover of language, but this is not the most successful expression of such a sentiment. A very additional purchase for school and public libraries.

Recommended with reservations.

Ellen Heaney is Head, Children's Services, New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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