THE FIRST FLUTE

WHOWHOAHYAHZO TOHKOHYA

If a bit patchwork, the package is still powerful.

As he has in the past, Bouchard (The Song within My Heart, 2015, etc.) joins talents with a multicultural team, in this case New Zealand–American illustrator Oelze, Kalapuya flautist Jan Michael Looking Wolf, and Dakota translator Goodwill, to present an uplifting tale.

Audiences will quickly become immersed in the combination of storytelling, music, and artwork. Dancing Raven has many skills, but his passion, dancing, is not recognized until Grandfather Cedar shows him the path of love and gifts him a flute. A prologue explains that this telling has been handed down from Looking Wolf's uncle. Their tribal affiliation is not indicated within the book, nor are source notes for other versions of the story provided, so those unfamiliar with Native American folklore and cultures must trust and enjoy the experience as presented. Text appears in English and Dakota, while CD tracks in English, French, and Dakota invite a wide audience. Those who have never heard it will be fascinated by the sound of the Dakota language, which is recorded by an older, gravelly voice that resonates with gravitas (the narrator is not named). Looking Wolf's music is atmospheric and moving. Masterful paintings—lush, vibrant, frequently suffused with sunlight—do not so much extend the text as accompany it, as if selected after the fact rather than crafted for it.

If a bit patchwork, the package is still powerful. (Picture book/folk tale. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-88995-475-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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