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Just Dance

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  63 reviews
A coming-of-age story about finding your own voice while learning to understand the people you love the most.

Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her hus
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published September 2017)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  211 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Rashika (is tired)
When Just, Dance showed up on my doorstep, I actually had no idea that Patricia MacLachlan, the infamous author of Sarah, Plan and Tall had a new book coming out. And perhaps it slipped under my radar because I've always paid a little bit more attention to YA than Middle Grade but it was a pleasant surprise and I was excited to read another book by the author of one of my favorite books from when I was a kiddo.

Just, Dance is a sweet, little novel that in many ways transcends age. It's about feel
Jessica Dudenhofer Beery
I picked this up because it had a horse on the cover and it's written by the author of "Sarah, Plain and Tall." It was a cute, quick read. A middle schooler is coming of age and realizes that her mother gave up fame and fortune to stay at home (in a rural community). The girl can't understand how or why she could give all that up...but after a summer of working for the local newspaper, meeting all kinds of colorful characters, this young lady learns about choosing what really matters - those you ...more
First sentence: I grew up on a farm, and I'm ten, so I don't know much about love. I know about cattle, chickens, two goats, sheep, and how to ride a horse. But I know love when I see it.

Premise/plot: Sylvie Bloom is an observant young girl who loves to write. She's given a unique opportunity to write for the local newspaper over the summer. Her columns are written in poetry and are inspired by local events. Her spin on country life is refreshing to readers. But as much as she observes, she lack
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything I read lately by Patricia MacLachlan is like a prose poem that goes down easy and is full of sparkling gems that stay with me for quite some time. Especially symbolic for me is that this story is set in Casper, Wyoming, where I was born but spent only one year. I was glad to read this sweet tale of life in a small farming village (probably outside of the city somewhere), which contrasted greatly with stories I've grown up with about the bleak, harsh weather and landscape of Casper.
Nikki Edgar
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very cute story about understanding your family and place in life!
Awwwww..... Just. Perfect. Review to come. :)
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can’t think of too many things that are lovelier than a patrician MacLachlan book. She has done it again in her latest, Just Dance. It is the story of the love of a husband and wife - and what they each give up to live together and raise their family - all seen through the eyes of their daughter, Sylvia. She is trying to figure out why her mom would give up a successful singing career to stay home and be her mom. She learns so many lessons during life - and during her short career as a writer ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
Another heartwarming story from Patricia MacLachlan about growing up, and the meaning of home, and family. Rich in friendship, this simplistic story is set in the open prairies of Wyoming. One of the things I enjoyed about this coming of age story is Sylvie's personal search and discovery of what it really means to be home. Home is where your family is at.

Samantha Novak
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely one of my favorites! Living on a farm and loving to write I felt like I could really relate to Sylvie Bloom and her family! Just Dance is the perfect length and I guarantee you that you will not be able to put it down. It will teach you many lessons about a loving family, true friends, and a whole lot of furry friends along the way! Most of all it will teach you how to Just Dance!
Ms. Yingling
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Sylvie lives on a farm near a small farm in Nebraska. Before meeting her father, her mother, Min, was a famous singer who toured the world. Now, she gets to sing opera to the cows, and Sylvie is very concerned that she and her brother are not enough to keep her mother "down on the farm". Sylvie herself wants to see more of the world, and she gets the opportunity when her teacher, Mrs. Ludolf, asks her to help Sheriff Ludolf (who learned English as an adult)
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing and a sweet story will appeal to young and old alike.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-fiction
I love poetry. I love music. I love love. I love this book. Read aloud, please. MacLachlan is a beautiful poet and I recommend her as an author study.
LitPick Book Reviews
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot is happening in a small town in Wyoming. Sheriff Ludolf is a terrible writer, but he has a newspaper log to keep. Here is what he writes:

“Madd cat will not let Maude Willie in her house. Jake Willie couldn’t stop laffing and had to be taken to the hospital.”

The sheriff knows his writing is horrible so he decides to recruit Sylvia Bloom, his wife’s best student, for the job. Her articles look like this:

“A trail of grain,

Followed by



Running chickens,

Beaks on the ground

Until the
Mrs.Melaugh Melaugh
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ten-year-old Sylvie lives on a farm in Wyoming. As a budding writer, she is excited to be asked to write a daily column in the town newspaper during the summer. Her observations about the folksy events she witnesses in her small town provide readers with a chance to experience a bit of what life is like in a rural community where everyone knows everyone else. Meanwhile, a second storyline concerns Sylvie’s mom. Before meeting and falling in love with her father, Sylvie’s mom had sung opera on st ...more
Melanie Dulaney
What a great book! Sylvie is a going into fifth grade girl living on a farm and wondering why her famous soprano mother would want to be stuck with a husband, kids and animals when she could be on-stage, traveling the world. When her favorite teacher recognizes her writing talent and gets her a job writing for the newspaper, Sylvester joins the sheriff and a host of interesting townspeople and finds out exactly why her mom is happy where she is and isn't going anywhere. Readers in the 3rd-6th gr ...more
Susan  Dunn
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
In a former life Sylvie's mother was a famous opera singer. But she gave it all up when she met Sylvie's father, fell in love, and moved to his farm in Wyoming. She still sings - but only to the animals and in the shower. Sylvie and her little brother Nate love to sit outside the bathroom door and listen! But Sylvie can't help but wonder; does her mother ever miss her former life? How can a boring, quiet life in a small town compare to traveling the world and performing? When her mother's former ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think I want to live in this place where everyone loves opera, poetry and are all kind and wise. It IS lovely to think about such a place and reading this sweet short novel refreshed my heart.

MacLachlan's trademark spare text is anything but spare in emotional impact. Sylvie wonders why her mother gave up performing and if she meets her old co-star, will she go back to the stage. It is a worry she hugs to herself - a very kid-like behavior. If you speak it out loud or ask, it might change from
Ruth Ann
Sylvie Bloom is moving up from 4th grade to 5th grade and is sad to be leaving her most perfect teacher behind, one who knows what she is thinking without her having to say a word.
Sylvie's teacher, Mrs. Ludolf, has a husband, the sheriff, who is almost illiterate and writes a "crime/news interest" column in the town newspaper. Mrs. Ludolf gives Sylvie her husband as her summer project - to write his column for him as she rides around town with the sheriff.
Sylvie also has a personal project this
Miraya Aleman
This book is about this girl named sylvie Bloom. Her family lives a very country lifestyle.. Melinda May is the mother, she loves to sing but is shy to sing in front of people. So when sylvie sees a letter for her mom it's from someone named james and it says something like this ‘‘hey Melinda this is James and i was wondering if you wanted to come down and sing again” so melinda and Sylvie Bloom go to sing, and then …………………………………………………………………….. Sylvie realize that her dad is not really her dad.

Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a particularly short and quick story. It was sweet and touching. The writing style is poetic, and I really liked the poems the main character wrote for the newspaper. My biggest complaint was that the children were just a little too wise for their ages. I have five children, and none of them have conversations with me about philosophy and the meaning of love. The younger brother was particularly hard to swallow. Overall though, it was a cute story and I think a good inclusion in this ye ...more
Margot Lindgren
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is truly special to have a book that deals with small and very personal concerns in an honest way.
It contains the lyrical language we've come to expect from Patricia MacLachlan. The family and community relationships in Just Dance are warm and reassuring. There are no big plot moments or catastrophes. It is just a beautiful quiet book. Sylvie observes her community, makes new and surprising friends and discovers something important about her mother and about love.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My granddaughter asked me to read this book. Earlier this year I read her very favorite book "Waiting for he Magic" by the same author. She's 9. I did enjoy it a lot and approve of her choices. Very good children's book.
Karen Piedra
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweet book with a small town setting. Young Sylvia, a writer, is trying to discover why her mother, a famous soprano, stays with her family and isn’t tempted to lead a life on the stage as she once did. A beautiful book about love and family.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing style is reminiscent of her lovely Sarah, Plain and Tall. A girl trying to understand the world through writing. A brother wise beyond his years. A family embracing the power of love and community. Music’s power to bring joy, to people and animals alike. A sweet story.
Mary Lee
Thank you, Patricia MacLachlan. I'll likely be late for school now, but that's okay. You've reminded me that "Life is simple. We silly humans try to make it complicated and confused." We need to--I need to--remember to "Just Dance."
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Country life, writing, summer vacation, child friendships with adult, giving up fame for family

Slow as molasses in my opinion, but I'm not a Patricia MacLachlan fan. Also felt too "historical" to be set in modern day (which it is because she has a cell phone.)
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The perfect author to start off 2018! Though I did not like this book as much as MacLachlan's others, it was still amazingly sweet, beautiful, thoughtful, simple, and poetic. Just the way I like my children's books to be.
Alyx Campbell
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wasnt my favorite Patricia maclachlan book, but man, can she string words together poetically.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Such a sweet little book.
Maggie Carr
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Life is simple. We silly humans try to make it complicated and confused."
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Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massach ...more
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