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by Lloyd Moss & illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23335-0
Publisher: Putnam

Just as he did with the wonderful Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (1995), Moss makes child’s play out of sophisticated verse that will keep young ears rapt. Here, it’s a marching band that slowly gets assembled, as he identifies each aspiring musician and accompanying instrument: “One house away, Shavaun O’Shea, / In mapping out her life, / Had planned to blow a piccolo / (Which some folks call a fife).” As Ralph and Harry and Maureen get familiar with their trombones and sousaphones and glockenspiels, the neighborhood gets a taste of cacophony: “ ‘That sound annoys! It near destroys! / They bellow and complain. / ‘Confound that noise! / Those girls and boys are driving us insane.’ ” But the learning curve is not too cruel and soon the band is good enough to impress the mayor, who invites them to the July 4th parade, where they do the town proud. “You sound so good. / When starting out, we had no doubt, / We always knew you would.” Moss conveys not just the joy of music making, but, more subtly, the need to practice hard to get it right. Bluthenthal’s (Bertie’s Picture Day, not reviewed, etc.) cartoon art matches the verve of Moss’s words, and provides for as much cultural variety in the players as there are instruments. Goggle-eyed kids, in various shapes and sizes, strut their stuff across pages of all-American landscape to the delight of their equally goofy parents. And just so you notice, the mayor is an African-American woman. Hip hip hooray! (Picture book. 4-8)