I Want to Dance


30 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-921792-01-8
DDC jC813'.54




Alexandra Sosnowski is an associate professor of Slavic Studies at the
University of Manitoba.


I Want to Dance is a bilingual (English and Ukrainian) children’s book
written and illustrated by Christina Senkiw. In 29 pages, out of which 9
contain full-page color illustrations, the author tells a story about a
young boy, Mark, who wants to learn Ukrainian dances. Just like his
older brother, Roman, he dreams of being a member of the Ukrainian dance
group, and owning a colorful costume and soft red boots. In order to
make his dream come true, Mark must become strong and fast. Months of
intensive training as well as hard work to earn money results not only
in Mark’s joining the local dance group, but also in his dancing a
solo during the annual concert.

Mark’s story has a clear educational character. Although the book is
aimed at children with Ukrainian backgrounds, it promotes positive life
values and attitudes that are important to any young child—among them,
determination, hard work at and outside of school, and patience. The
book presents an example of the way to a successful realization of a
young boy’s dream. In addition, it sponsors the idea of maintaining
and learning about one’s heritage.

Some young readers may not be happy with the structure of the book:
bilingual versions are provided next to each other on the same
page—English, then Ukrainian. If the book is to be used in the process
of learning Ukrainian, its setup is not very helpful, since the
translation method of learning foreign languages is not recommended much
at present. Moreover, the vivid illustrations that accompany the text
(opposite each page) would, without a doubt, help readers understand the
story. However, many students prefer such a composition, for the
translation provides them with considerable comfort during the reading.

I Want to Dance is an interesting addition to the young
Ukrainian-Canadian’s library. Today it may also be of interest to the
children of Ukraine who are learning the English language.


Senkiw, Christina., “I Want to Dance,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24422.