THE MAESTRO PLAYS
Two maestros play here -- one with words, the other with color, form, and space -- in what is one of the most visually emphatic picture books of the year. Previously published in 1970, with illustrations by Sal Murdocca, Martin's (Old Devil Wind, 1993, etc.) catalogue of adverbs swoops and soars: "The Maestro plays PROUDLY. He plays LOUDLY...He is playing ringingly, wingingly, swingingly, flingingly, tingingly...leapingly, cheepingly, faster, faster," closing at last to thunderous applause. Radunsky's illustrations are made with cut paper, but they look painted: A clown and other figures composed of a few simple, generally rounded shapes tumble through huge fields of astonishingly bright, pure colors and artfully placed but legible text. The effect is circus-like, a vertiginous celebration of sound and color.