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BIG TUNE by Alliah L. Agostini Kirkus Star


Rise of the Dancehall Prince

by Alliah L. Agostini ; illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice

Pub Date: March 28th, 2023
ISBN: 9780374389949
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A young Black boy finds a way to keep the music and joy alive in his Caribbean American community.

In Shane’s neighborhood, the weekend is a time for music and partying with family and friends. While everyone else dances, he collects cans with plans to turn them into money for his sneaker fund. Shane’s brothers think he’s too shy to dance, but Shane dances and sings when he’s alone in his room. After all, other family members are so much better. As he gets closer to his goal, he is excited and has all the moves. Unfortunately, when the next time for a gathering comes, the music speaker no longer works. Shane immediately decides to sacrifice his savings to ensure that the good times will continue. He is a hero to family and friends, and the revelers show their appreciation by passing the hat to replace his money. Finally, Shane overcomes his shyness and takes to the floor to sing and to dance with his loved ones. This lively, vibrant narrative has an infectious spirit, and Shane is irresistible. Grounded in a tightknit Jamaican American community, the story deftly incorporates visual and textual references to dance styles, food, and other cultural touchstones. The lush collages reinforce the text. Themes of joy, solidarity, and artistic expression are effortlessly woven throughout the words and images. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An exuberant celebration of community that leaps off the page.

(author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)