MUSIC IS

A lighthearted paean in verse by radio-host Moss who takes a very basic tack: “Singing, humming, chanting, rapping; fingers snapping. / Music’s grand!” Birthdays, 4th of July, even elevators are occasions for music; and every kind brings out the dance in the young narrator. Petit-Roulet’s gouaches use the simplest of forms and shapes: his round- or oval-headed people are barely more than stick figures (they resemble nothing so much as a set of clad and personified musical notes). His emphasis, however, is on their affinity for music, whether they are playing it, dancing or singing, or simply responding to the beat of a marching band. The verse ends rather abruptly: “what would life be without music? / Think of what we would have missed!” But for the rest, it bounces, it sings, and makes a great read-aloud. If it gets youngsters to ask who Gershwin is, or Ellington, or what opera or chamber music sounds like, it will have transcended its storytelling venue to reach an even higher note. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23336-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

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Lendroth brings the right ingredients, offering a tale that challenges gender stereotypes and showcases an intergenerational...

NATSUMI!

An exuberant young girl finds her match in taiko drumming.

A whirlwind of energy, Natsumi often hears the words, “Not so fast” or “hard” or “loud” from her family. When she worries her boisterous actions always lead to mistakes, her grandfather finds the perfect outlet: taiko. On stage, Natsumi pounds the large, barrel-shaped drums—their thundering boom an extension of her enthusiastic spirit. Like Kevin Henkes with his water pistol–toting Lilly, Lendroth offers a charming character who defies traditional gender associations. However, her choice to place this modern story in a “village” is interesting. Cultural festivals such as the one she describes are experienced by Japanese-Americans today, and the United States has a thriving taiko or kumidaiko scene, yet Americans do not typically refer to their small towns or rural locations as villages. Acknowledgement that the setting is in Japan in the tale’s initial setup would have been helpful, as it establishes an entirely different lens for readers. Digital art, made to look like marker drawings, are colored in a mostly pastel palette. Unfortunately, while the artist is capable of including more interest and detail in her illustrations, as in her Five Green and Speckled Frogs (2003), she fails to give these characters and setting the specificity she gave generic animals.

Lendroth brings the right ingredients, offering a tale that challenges gender stereotypes and showcases an intergenerational bond, but overall, it’s a disappointing execution to a promising start. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17090-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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