An anthology of familiar songs from the mid-20th century are gathered in a petite picture book, with illustrations, notes, and an accompanying CD.
Green’s style features many light, curling lines filled in with mostly washed-out, pastel colors, human figures sharing the picture plane with vegetation, birds, clouds, and snowflakes. Occasionally she chooses to place these figures in a setting, as in a black man strumming a guitar in a rocking chair, surrounded by cotton bolls and underneath puffy clouds that leak large raindrops for “Stormy Weather.” Her style eschews perspective, giving the pictures a childlike look. Each song is given one or two double-page spreads and is accompanied by a compressed but informative note by Françoise Tenier via translation by David Lytle and Hélène Roulston. These are aimed at adult readers and offer valuable insights. Mystifyingly, the lyrics to two songs are not reproduced while others are; that these are the first two songs in the book (“Willow Weep for Me,” sung by Billie Holiday, and “Gone with the Wind,” sung by Julie London) is deeply unfortunate. Green depicts both black and white children and adults, but some may be taken aback at her choice to pair white or light-skinned women with songs from Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Sarah Vaughan.
The highlights of this collection are the notes and the CD itself; jazz aficionados wishing to share their enthusiasm with their children may find it a useful vehicle. (Picture book. 5-8)