West African Book Review: Lord of the Dance


Music and dance are important parts of many cultures around the world. My philosophy is “explore music, explore the world.” I discovered the book, Lord of the Dance, through Kid World Citizen. They are doing an amazing series exploring the world through books! So I decided to join in and explore some art, music, and dance from Côte d’Ivoire.

Lord of the Dance is written and illustrated by Véronique Tadjo who is from Côte d’Ivoire, a West African country. Ms. Tadjo learned about the Senufo people and their culture while teaching.

This book is illustrated in the style of Senufo art. However, the traditional art used brown vegetable ink. Children can notice many different patterns in the art throughout the book. (It would be fun to do an art project of a mask or animal with different patterns drawn on the body. Maybe use a paper plate like they did on First Palette)

Cherie shared a sketch with you 51
One of the patterned illustrations from Lord of the Dance by Véronique Tadjo.

Lord of the Dance is great for thinking about how we can lose sight of the simpler things in life. The Mask is around from the beginning of time and is important in shaping the culture. It represents the spirit of the people and their traditions. Those traditions provide an anchor and a compass to navigate life.

Of course, I like this book because it touches on the role of music and dance in the Senufo culture. Specifically, the drums used for celebration and mourning. As a music teacher, I found the book great for getting children involved in making sound. There is a “Tom-tom-tom-tom-tom” refrain. I would have children repeat it back to me and drum on their knees or the floor. You could have children make their own drums, too!

Lord of the Dance is a unique poem and the illustrations offer a wonderful view into the Senufo culture. Véronique provides further explanation of the Mask and the Senufo people at the end of the book. I came up with many music activities based around Lord of the Dance. This is would be a great book to use to begin exploring West Africa.

Kids Read the World: Africa | Kid World Citizen

This post on children’s books about West Africa is part of a series from Kid World Citizen, gathering reviews of children’s books about the countries of Africa. Be sure to check out all the wonderful books and reviews!


Activities and Teaching Aides

Hello Parents and teachers!

You will find many tools to supplement your music program here.  From song and movement ideas to worksheets, it’s all here.

IMG_7902DISCO AT THE DISCO SAMPLE CLASSROOM PACK – (click to download folder)

This pack contains worksheets, Four-on-the-Floor song mp3, and lyrics.  The worksheets provide opportunities for discussion, creativity, and knowledge building, strengthening areas covered under core and performance arts standards.

$10.00 CLASSROOM BUNDLE AVAILABLE THROUGH TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS – includes a pdf of the book & full classroom pack (2 discussion sheets, 2 worksheets, 1 coloring page, lyric sheet, full song mp3, instrumental mp3, video breakdown).

** RECEIVE THE CLASSROOM BUNDLE WHEN YOU ORDER THE HARDCOVER** simply email your receipt & let me know you are a teacher & which school district you work for.

QUINTET SONG – music vocabulary and counting activity (download free flash cards here)

Use this activity to teach children the difference between solo, duo, trio, quartet, and quintet as they count and sing along.





Disco at the Disco – also available on Amazon

Learn more about Disco at the Disco here.



flavor land website cover



Musical Mable will bring children along with her as she investigates different music genres.  The first book in the series, Musical Mable in Flavor Land, introduces children to Mable and how genres are like ice cream flavors.  Blueberry Blues or Ragtime Raspberry anyone?

Sign up for the mailing list to stay up-to-date on book and song releases.  Also receive tips and activities straight to your inbox!


THE VIOLIN SONG – Sing about the violin, and different ways to play it, with this tune set to “Three Blind Mice.”

FOUR ON THE FLOOR – learn about the meaning of this term & the kick drum with this song based off of the Disco at the Disco picture book!

THE KICK DRUM VIDEO – Tap, stomp, clap, and jump to different tempos

I HAVE MANY TEETH – Name all of your teeth with this song

THE PURPLE SONG – some words that rhyme with purple and some things that are purple!  Sing along and see if you can think of more purple things.








music time
I absolutely love coming up with songs and dance moves.  Below are some of my favorite song creations.  Listen as often as you like and, if you find one that you really like, click the link to own your very own copy.  I hope you have as much fun listening and dancing to them as I had creating them.

MOZART’S CART – Mozart was such a great musician that he traveled all around as a child.  But, he did not travel by car, bus, plane, or train.  Listen to what life was like for little Mozart.

FOUR-ON-THE-FLOOR – the kick drum, the hi-hat, and the strings can be heard in a lot of disco music.  Sing along and make the sounds of the instruments as you stomp or clap the four-on-the-floor rhythm.

THE BEAN BAG WALK – have a bean bag, sock, or something else you can balance on your head & catch?  Try out the Bean Bag Walk song.

SPIDER WEBS (live) – spiders do a lot with their webs, so let’s sing about it?





new page 6

Explore music. Explore the world.



“DR. KING” – Call and response song for kids.  Continue the celebration of Dr. King and Black History Month with this fun song!  Listen to a live snippet below. Mailing list members will receive a download of the recorded version the second week of February.  Enjoy and spread peace and harmony.


new page 3
Find picture books that bring music to life.


mable series2

Disco at the Disco is out now.  The Musical Mable series is coming soon.  Learn more…

new page 4

Watch and discover all the wonderful things different genres have to offer, instruments, dance moves, yodeling, and more!

Just listen or find more videos.

new page 5
Bring unique genre classes to your students, home, or community.  Classes are mobile & I do birthdays! 🎉 

Paint by Genre and Themes & Things music classes. Learn more…



All the ABCs of Musical Styles videos plus more ways to experience classical, disco, alternative, and more.

Click to listen to original music for kids (fun for adults too)
Read alongs, classic songs, and old favorites are all here.
Browse and buy picture and coloring books designed to help children explore culture and music
Downloadable content, song guide videos, and more
Bring a class or presentation to your school or find one near you

Join the mailing list for updates, previews, and free downloads.