Rhymes and rhythm: New book and CD set explores a world of dance

“Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing” is a new collection of poems from Brooklyn author Marilyn Singer that celebrates dance forms from around the world. Singer’s poetry is matched with joyful, kinetic illustrations by Kristi Valiant. In “Bhangra,” Singer writes, “Sister, sister, beautiful bride, we dance for you,” and Valiant depicts beaming wedding guests, dressed in a rainbow of colors, enjoying this Punjab dance.

Singer’s poems also celebrate the Jewish hora, American hip hop, Latin-American merengue, carnival’s samba, and many others. But what really brings this concept to life is the audio CD featuring Singer reading each poem to the music that her stanzas are inspired by. Her performance helps the little listener — ideally, ages 5-8 — to hear how the poem’s meter cleverly mimics each dance’s particular rhythm.

“Feel the Beat” is a welcoming window into the cultures of many of the five borough’s immigrant groups. This set is infused with the infectious joy of celebratory music and dancing, and its power to bring people of all backgrounds — and all ages — together.

“Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing” CD and book by Marilyn Singer, $17.99, BarnesAndNoble.com.