Music and the Arts Book Reviews

THE MONSTER RETURNS by Peter McCarty
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"It might lack the mild menace of its predecessor, but it satisfies in its supply of companionship all around. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Jeremy hatches a plan to cope with his monster's unexpected return. Read full book review >
EVERYBODY GETS THE BLUES by Leslie Staub
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 9, 2012

"Hip and stylized—yet, given its important humanitarian message, curiously enervated. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Staub, a native of New Orleans, cloaks a worthy message in obscure metaphor. Read full book review >

THE REALLY AWFUL MUSICIANS by John Manders
ANIMALS
Released: Dec. 20, 2011

"Undeniably a lesson, it is delivered with a sense of fun; a helpful author's note describes each instrument. (Picture book. 3-6) "
When all the bands in the kingdom sound horrible, the king takes drastic action. Read full book review >
WHEN COMES WHAT DARKLY THIEVES by Ben Rubin
FICTION
Released: Dec. 7, 2011

"An unusual, artfully rendered story that will appeal to children as well as adults."
A dark, dreamy tale illustrated with rich, textured collages. Read full book review >
MELODY BURNING by Whitley Strieber
FICTION
Released: Dec. 6, 2011

"Too many sour notes in this melody. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
A ham-handed contemporary Phantom of the Opera that features a teen pop sensation and an agoraphobic boy by the adult author of The Wolfen (1978). Read full book review >

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND by Jon J Muth
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 1, 2011

"Big questions, posed with majestic simplicity—and packaged with a CD of the original track. (artist's afterword). (Picture book. 8-10, adult)"
Dylan's lyrics succeed here better than many other songs that find their way to picture books. Read full book review >
CIRCUS GALACTICUS by Deva Fagan
FICTION
Released: Nov. 14, 2011

"A book that reaches for the stars and provides a thrilling ride. (Science fiction. 12 & up)"
A plucky orphan runs away to join an intergalactic circus in this frenetic science-fiction/adventure tale. Read full book review >
THE TWILIGHT CIRCUS by Di Toft
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Definitely a continuation rather than a freestanding episode, but the author keeps her ongoing plot galloping along and adds an assortment of marvelous new creatures to the cast. (Fantasy.10-13) "
An old foe sets a deadly trap for two young werewolves in a sequel framed by family reunions and positively festooned with hideous vampires. Read full book review >
DUKE ELLINGTON'S <i>NUTCRACKER SUITE</i> by Anna Harwell Celenza
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Still, real cool. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-9) "
Drawing from letters, memoirs, photos, film and recordings, Celenza presents a spry account of the 1960 composition and recording of a decidedly swinging Nutcracker Suite. Read full book review >
MY TWO GRANDADS by Floella Benjamin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Cheery, brightly colored, cartoon-style illustrations reiterate the text, which, while a touch didactic, laudably expands on the typically monocultural depictions of families in picture books. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Benjamin and Chamberlain's picture book is squarely focused on family diversity as it tells the story of a biracial boy and his musical family in a companion to their earlier collaboration, My Two Grannies (2008). Read full book review >
HUSH, BABY, HUSH! by Kathy Henderson
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"This attractive presentation is appropriate as a baby gift, for daycare and preschool collections and public libraries. (sheet music) (Picture book. birth-5)"
Addressed primarily to adults interested in singing these traditional songs to their children, this collection includes 29 lullabies from countries including Japan, Nigeria, Malawi and Greenland. Read full book review >
THE SHAPE SONG SWINGALONG by SteveSongs
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Break out the crayons and markers, and put on some dancing shoes—this is sure to inspire on many levels. (Picture book. 2-5)"
The catchy shape song that many will recognize from PBS Kids gets some new verses and some brilliantly colored artwork in this collaboration from SteveSongs and Sim. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >