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Book of the Month

Belluna's Big Adventure in the Sky: A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers by Once Upon a Dance
Once Upon a Dance


Belluna is a basketball player, sister, and daughter with one remarkable feature. While on a family outing, a storm sweeps Belluna up on a wild ride. As she is tossed about by the wind, Belluna discovers she can overcome her fear and embrace her uniqueness to take control of her movement and her mind.

Ballerina Konora joins each page with suggested actions to get kids moving alongside Belluna in her tale of level-headed tenacity and a celebration of individuality. Each Dance-It-Out! story is a movement-based children’s one-act ready for the imagination stage.

The quirky, whimsical adventure of self-discovery was created by an award-winning dance instructor, partnered with her award-winning, professional ballet-dancer daughter.

What Our Readers Think

I really enjoyed reading, Belluna’s Big Adventure in the Sky: A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers. Ballerina Konora, the stories dancer, invites her readers to partner with her and dance Belluna’s tale. On each page, Ballerina Konora gives specific dance motions and instructions on how to act out what is happening in Belluna’s story. With easy and simple movements, I loved how creative and interactive this story was! Although the motions are geared towards dancers, I think any young reader would have lots of fun motioning through Belluna’s story.

Belluna Noolab, the book’s main character, lives with her mother, father, and brother. The Noolab’s are different; drawing attention for their distinct look, Belluna finds herself sometimes frustrated for not being like the other kids. However, the Noolab’s do not let their differences stop them. Each one of them has their own niche as well as enjoying “normal” family activities such as baking, TV, and vacations. One particular pastime the family loves to do together is apple picking. The Noolab’s spend a day in the orchard, and on departure, Belluna forgets her ball in the trees. With a storm quickly approaching, Belluna’s mother tells her to run and grab her ball quickly and return to the car. Belluna is in for a surprise when the wind suddenly picks her off her feet and floats her away into the sky, where she must utilize her differences to find her way back home.

My favorite part about this book was the stunning illustrations. Brightly colored and imaginative, I applaud Stella Mongodi’s talent in constructing these scenes. From the character’s outfits to the detailed backgrounds, and gradients of color, I was blown away. I also loved the formatting of this book. The illustrations were the perfect size along with the plot and interactive Ballerina Konara blurbs. I think the included pictures of Ballerina Konara doing the motions was a fantastic touch, making the story even more engaging and easy to follow.

This book displays a beautiful message of embracing differences and using one’s special gifts for a purpose. Young readers who feel “different” or ostracized would sympathize with Belluna and how she wishes she fit in with the “normal kids.” However, as Belluna realized, they can take away that their uniqueness has value and should be celebrated.

Overall, I would recommend this book for young children (around ages three to eight) who like dancing or feel differen.

Seattle Book Review

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