Altogether, a jazzy modern romp through musical styles that really is for everyone.


MUSIC IS . . .

This smart board book uses contrasts to introduce musical vocabulary to potential prodigies.

Children of a variety of skin tones and ethnicities are shown playing, and playing with, music of all types. Stosuy respects the abilities of his young audience, matter-of-factly introducing sophisticated terminology. Each page is devoted to just one concept, with words, color, and retro-style images concisely illustrating its meaning, and is juxtaposed against its opposite on the facing page. For example, the opening line, “music is quiet,” has a pale blue background and a brown-skinned child wearing earbuds while three birds fly overhead. The opposite page proclaims, “Music is LOUD,” with a lighter-skinned brown child in marching-band regalia pounding a white bass drum against a bright red background. On the sad/happy pages, a small boom box placed off to one side suggests that recorded music is just as valid as live, performed music, a concept underscored later on with pictures of a cassette tape and an LP. “Music is hard” (illustrated with a shirtless, orange-haired white toddler pounding kitchen-pot drums with ladles) is opposite an olive-skinned man blissfully playing a harp with a cat on his lap. An “acoustic” banjo is paired with an aggressively wired “electric” guitar. A glossary on the final pages offers more-technical definitions.

Altogether, a jazzy modern romp through musical styles that really is for everyone. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7702-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Brava! (Graphic fiction. 10-14)


From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava! (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color


Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet