MAX AND THE LOST NOTE

A London-based art director and illustrator delivers a jazz-inspired effort whose snappy illustrations can’t redeem its wobbly logic. Hip cat Max loses a note while composing a song. After looking everywhere at home, he widens his search by visiting musical friends. Though the singing Felines, saxophonist Dexter, trumpeter Miles and others (cats, all) deliver gorgeous tunes, Max doesn’t hear his lost note among theirs. Back home, Max spots his note, stuck to the sole of a kicked-off loafer. “He must have trodden on it while he was writing his new tune.” Marsh fails to discriminate between the visual and aural manifestations of musical notes. Black notes pepper nearly every spread, dancing from horns and surrounding birds in hep, funky streetscapes. Yet the search propelling Max from flutist to bassist is one of intent listening—making the switch back to that stuck-on, two-dimensional note all the more lead-footed. Jazz’s ability to delight comes across via bright ink-and-watercolor pictures that offer kid-appealing details, but an omnipresent, curiously despondent mouse dampens the effect. Disappointingly discordant. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84507-972-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved.

SONG FOR THE SNOW

For the past two winters snow hasn’t come to Freya’s town. Will an old, forgotten song help to bring it back?

In language that is almost poetic, Lappano tells the story of Freya, who loved the way snow looked and felt, and how the air changed when snow was coming. It’s been two winters now since it last came, and Freya is afraid her memories of snow are fading. At the market with her father, “a soft, twinkling melody danced in Freya’s ears.” Following the sound, Freya finds a woman holding a snow-globe music box. She gifts Freya the globe and tells her it plays an old and special song. For generations, says the woman, the song was sung by the townspeople, and some believed it was “the magic of the song that called the snow home.” Back home, her mother remembers the words, but though Freya sings them over many days, the snow does not come. Eventually, she teaches the words to her friends, who take the song home, and soon “the song once again filled their homes and hearts.” And finally (and predictably), the snow comes. Eggenschwiler’s artwork matches the gentle and magical telling of the story with textural illustrations in a limited palette of soft colors. Freya, her family, and the woman present White; the townspeople are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-268-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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