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After tap class, Charli ditches her painful dance shoes in the garbage. Her best friend Wilbur, an imposing, 130-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, fishes the shoes out of the trash, puts them on and brings to life his dream of being a dancer. A dog in tap shoes? This is highly unexpected! Charli quickly realizes that while it isn’t her dream to be a dancer, it is Wilbur’s, and she can help make his fantasy a reality. She helps him perform on the neighborhood sidewalk. He dances for the clapping kids at the park. But will Charli’s help be enough for Wilbur to land center stage on Broadway? Whimsically inspired by the seven-year-old author and her mother, Charli and Carrie Cecil brought to life an inspiring, comedic story about never giving up and following your dreams even when you may not fit in. A fun adventure that kids – and their parents – and anyone who has ever dreamed big are sure to love.
How Wilbur & Charli A Dancing Dog’s Dream came to life.
Questions & Answers
Charli Cecil & her Mom, Carrie
What made you two want to write a book?
Charli: My mom and I wanted to do something together that was fun. It was fun, but it also took a long time because we hadn’t done one together.
Mom: But we didn’t give up – did we?
How did you two come up with the story?
Charli: That’s a good question. Well, I came home from ballet and tap class and I really didn’t like it. The leos hurt my bottom. The tights felt yucky and the shoes squeezed my feet. I just didn’t like it one bit.
Mom: Charli laid in bed feeling very sad that night.
Charli, why were you sad?
Charli: Ummm, I was crying because all of my friends do dance and get to be in shows; I felt left out. I like the shows but not the clothes and stuff. They didn’t understand why I didn’t like it. Plus, it hurts having my hair pulled tight on my head.
Carrie, did you want her to dance?
Mom: She’s seven-years-old — I want her to do what makes her happy and fills her with a sense of purpose and joy, so no. But I also didn’t want her to feel left out. We cuddled in her bed with our 130-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, Wilbur (practically on top of us) and we talked about what makes her happy.
Charli, what did your mom say?
Charli: My mom said everyone has different gifts and talents and she asked what I’d like to do instead of dance class?
What do you like to do?
Charli: I like to sing. I also like to dig up worms and bugs and spiders and caterpillars and stuff that scare most kids. It’s cool. My mom said that even if other kids don’t like my singing or the stuff I like to do, that I should keep doing it. Not to give up.
How did Wilbur get involved in the story?
Charli: My mom asked me if I thought it would be silly if Wilbur wanted to dance? I laughed because I thought that was funny. He’s reeeaaaaalllllllly big!
Mom: But I asked her seriously – “If that’s all Wilbur wanted to do, did she think he could do it?” We sat there looking at Wilbur and she said, “Sure.”
(How great is it to have the heart of a child? I also wondered at what point did we stop believing that anything is possible?)
Charli: I thought Wilbur could do it because he is really smart and good at doing tricks, but he’d have to practice a lot ‘cause, well…he’s a dog. My mom said that no matter what happened, even if other people laughed at Wilbur and made fun of him because he didn’t look – on the outside – like a dancer, on the inside he was a dancer.
Mom: That she could be the one who encouraged him. Being an encourager is a special talent too.
Charli: My mom told me that sometimes people have different ways of talking or they look different or they have different dreams, but that I need to be nice to them – That I can help them to dance or sing or play sports or paint or dig in the mud because we all need someone to clap for us and to hug us.
Are you two going to write more children’s books?
Charli: OH YES! Although my mom’s talent is writing, and mine is singing, I think I’m getting good at writing. I already have a lot of good adventures in my journal about Wilbur and me and bugs and snakes and our creek.