A somewhat didactic, yet inspirational tale full of love and music.
Little Man loves to play the drums. “BOOM BOOM / rat-a-tat / ping-ping / CRASH!” He improves his skills by practicing on his own, but he longs to buy a bicycle so that he can take lessons across town. Little Man has lots of support from his family, including his father, who encourages him to pursue his passion despite teasing from his brother and friends. Little Man works as hard as he can at odd jobs to raise money, but he can’t seem to earn enough cash for the bike. Until, that is, the opportunity to play at the upcoming block party arises. Little Man entertains family, friends and neighbors with his beats, and they in turn fill a hat with enough money for Little Man to buy his bike. If the prose feels a little stilted at times, the illustrations—created with pastels and airbrushing—are unfalteringly realistic and warm. Little Man and his family and neighbors look like they could step, or dance, right off the pages. On the accompanying CD, Warwick narrates the story, bringing its rhythms to life, and Wooley, on whose life the story is based, provides a drum demonstration.
Break this one out at storytime, and don’t forget the musical instruments. (Picture book. 4-8)