written by Sarah Lynn; illustrated by Valeria Docampo
(Marshall Cavendish Children) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Emma's Pop teaches her to tap before she can talk. "Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, buffalo-step-stomp." She learns that you can make music with your feet. Every year, Pop and Emma put on a tap dancing show for Emma's birthday and then enjoy Gram's strawberry shortcake. However, on Emma's sixth birthday something is different. Pop begins forgetting things like walking the dog, his reading glasses, and even Emma's birthday. Eventually, he just sits in his rocking chair. Without Pop, Emma's feet lose their joy. One day, after dance class, Emma plants a kiss on Pop's cheek and walks away in her tap shoes. What she hears as she walks is a sign that perhaps Pop hasn't forgotten everything.
Memory loss in a grandparent is a particularly tough subject to feature in a picture book, but Sarah Lynn tackles it with a dose of sweetness and surprising reality. Emma does make a connection with her grandfather, but Gram cautions that Pop's feet remembering was for "today", but that maybe they "can help them remember tomorrow." It's a deft touch that can balance the heartache of losing touch with a loved one with a child's earnestness and hope. I can't say why, but I also really like how Valeria Docampo illustrates people.
The expressions in their faces really helps how I would use this book which would be to teach a lesson on drawing conclusions. You can compare the faces in different parts of the book and have students think about what they can conclude without the author telling them.
Other reviews of Tip-Tap Pop:
Picture Books and Pirouettes