Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SYMPHONY CITY by Amy  Martin


by Amy Martin & illustrated by Amy Martin

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: June 7th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-936365-39-5
Publisher: McSweeney's McMullens

On her way to a concert, a young girl loses the hand of the adult taking her. Following a trail of music through the city, she finds her way home where “the best songs love you back.”

This familiar home-away-home narrative arc is set in a busy city. Coming out from the subway, the girl hears music everywhere, beginning with a flute player whose notes emerge embodied as yellow birds. Music is on street corners, floating through windows and in the natural world. Kites carry her to the rooftops, where she dances with ballerinas. Double-page spreads feature clean, stylized shapes. Gray at first, these illustrations gradually fill with color. The yellow of the child’s slicker matches the birds she follows; though small, she’s easy to find. Cats are everywhere. The minimal text is set in a small font, often part of the negative space on the page. This is clearly designed for sharing, not for independent reading. Adults will need to interpret the image of an empty turntable that opens the story and to provide reassurance on the scary pages where the two hands separate and the girl is lost among the faceless crowd.

This lovely tribute to the power of music to take us away and soothe our fears will likely fly over the heads of its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-7)