This rousing, upbeat, participatory invitation to make music should entice budding musicians.


Young readers are encouraged to “pick up an instrument and start to play,” as “music is magic.”

Speaking directly to a kid audience in engaging rhythmic verse, each double-page spread opens with the imperative to “play me some music,” focusing on different instruments in various venues. Sprightly, cheerful, active, inclusive watercolor illustrations printed on durable stock fill the pages with changing scenes of diverse groups of happy children and adults playing and enjoying music. A solo street musician juggles a banjo, drum, and harmonica for appreciative shoppers. A uniformed marching band struts across the page to a cheering crowd. A string quartet accompanies swirling ballet dancers, while a loud, jiving rock band stirs up jumping fans. A pianist and drummer entertain at a home birthday party. A harpist and flutist play at an elegant ball, a child violinist renders a farewell song at a sad pet funeral, tambourines brighten a school show, and a clarinet tune lulls a child to sleep. The final double-page spread implores readers to play a tune on a spoon, shake a jar, clap hands, “crash” pan lids together, “twang” a rubber band, “puff” into a bottle, or “just open your mouth and sing me a song!” There is no apparent attempt at a unifying narrative—just lots of happy music makers.

This rousing, upbeat, participatory invitation to make music should entice budding musicians. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-771-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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