Wat dansen we heerlijk
“That’s absolutely hopeless!” declare the animals, as they watch the rhinoceros dancing with the hippopotamus. And it’s true – the wild way these two thick-skinned creatures come crashing together and fling each other about doesn’t have much to do with dancing. But these aren’t just any old animals: they’re characters in a book by Toon Tellegen, a writer who has created a genre all of his own with his philosophical and absurdist animal stories.
Things are seldom ordinary in Tellegen’s world. And this is certainly true of the stories in Wat dansen we heerlijk (What a Delightful Dance). The bear dances with the honey cake, whispering sweet nothings as he gobbles down every last crumb of his dance partner, while the hedgehog only wants to dance with the squirrel if they can both do it in their own homes. “The way I dance is not a pretty sight,” he confesses to the squirrel.
With her lively lines and bright watercolour and Ecoline paints, Annemarie van Haeringen turns the clumsy rhino and the awkward hippo into a ravishing couple of dancers who swirl over the pages in a graceful duet. Elsewhere, the hedgehog tires himself out performing complex ballet steps and the whirligig beetle gracefully does the splits. It’s the most delightful dance ever to appear in a children’s book!