I must admit that Different Dances has a special allure for me. It is in part because of all the books published by Harper & Row (now HarperCollins, of course), this is the only one which is most definitely not for children. It deals with highly adult themes, which makes perfect sense considering that many of the cartoons were previously published in Playboy. I suppose in that regard, Different Dances is not unlike Silverstein's previous work, "Now Here's My Plan" (published back in 1960). However, "Now Here's My Plan" is definitely an early work; many of Silverstein's trademarks are already present but they don't seem quite as sharp, biting, or satirical as his later works would be. Different Dances is the epitome of all those characteristics, and then some; very few things are spared the scrutiny of Silverstein's satirically-laced penmanship. He takes a harsh look at sex, drugs, human emotion and experience, but it's a look that's well worthy.
Even though I make these comments, I admit that as of April 6, 1999, I have not been able to procure a copy of this book. So as long as this book remains out of my grasp, whether as owner and reader, I can only make judgements from the few cartoons that I have seen at Carol's site. Should I ever obtain a copy of Different Dances, I believe quite absolutely that the high expectations I have will be met.
But enough of my mini-essay. Let's go to the reviews, which are quite polarized. Hardly a surprise considering the controversial nature of the book:
Publisher's Weekly: July 2, 1979.
New York Times Book Review: November 4, 1979.