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by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton ; illustrated by Elly MacKay

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2023
ISBN: 9781419763199
Publisher: Abrams

Actor Andrews and her daughter Walton Hamilton pay tribute to the power of music.

The inhabitants of a small village are happy with “simple pleasures” until they commercialize to attract tourists…whereupon a dismal purple mist creeps in and thickens to the point that people stop visiting or even going outside. Then one day little Piccolino, who is helping his father dust the deserted opera house, plinks out a tune on the piano…and notices that the palms in the lobby look fresher. The brown-skinned pair proceed to gather wilting houseplants from all over town, park them in the auditorium seats, and call the orchestra members in for a concert. The plants flourish, the fog lifts, and throngs of villagers are drawn out into the streets by the music to dance and sing. Everyone realizes that “if they remained faithful to all that matters most, nothing could darken their days again.” In a closing note the authors state that they were inspired by an actual concert played in Barcelona in 2020 to an “audience” of plants—a piece of performance art more likely to stimulate discussion than this trite, sugary mess. The illustrations are one bright spot: MacKay places her gracefully posed, diverse figures in luminously hued scenes of narrow streets and neatly kept buildings perched on a steep hill and threaded with musical staves. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet art, cloying storyline.

(Picture book. 6-8)