The Cactus Dance – La Danza Del Cactus (paperback)

April Lesher

The Cactus Dance/La Danza del Cactus begins on a quiet summer day with the giant Saguaro Cactus soaking in the sun. Then, a drop of rain changes everything as the desert awakens under an exhilarating and refreshing thunderstorm. Cactus leads readers in a playful dance where children will join desert critters and wildlife in a monsoon celebration with stomping, growling, twirling, and howling.

(8.5 x 11″)


  1. Reviewed by Olivia Ard for Readers’ Favorite

    The Cactus Dance/La Danza del Cactus by April Lesher and Gabriela Vega is an eye-catching, colorful book with a sweet but simple plot that will appeal to children of all ages. It follows a giant Saguaro cactus that starts the story by swaying and relaxing in the heat. When a monsoon begins to flood the desert with rain, we see how our cactus as well as the animals and plants around him react. The text is presented in both English and Spanish throughout, so readers in either language can follow the text with ease. I am bilingual and found both sets of text comparable in content and ease of readability. I appreciated the symmetry of the story as we begin and end the story with the Saguaro cactus humming in contentment as the sun warms (or dries) his skin.

    I read The Cactus Dance/La Danza del Cactus by April Lesher and Gabriela Vega to my daughters, aged 3 and 5, and they were immediately engaged by the lovely artwork featured on each page. They even started to do parts of the cactus dance themselves without any prompting, lifting their arms bent at the elbow and sticking out their chins. Even when I stopped reading the text to them, they were able to intuit what was happening based on the descriptive pictures (even subtle ones, like whistling). Once animals started to appear, they quickly named the ones they knew and asked about the ones they didn’t, and before I knew it they were howling like coyotes and growling like javelinas. It’s difficult to find children’s books with this level of visual and verbal engagement that is also accessible to two language communities. I’ll be eagerly on the lookout for the next book from this incredibly talented pair of creators, and you should be too.

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