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SUBWAY SONATA by Patricia Lakin


by & illustrated by

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7613-1464-4
Publisher: Millbrook

An encouraging, if somewhat wooden, look at the creative process as experienced by four people drawing their inspiration from a ride on the same subway train. As Carlos, Rachel, Paul, and Maria head for their respective jobs on the morning subway ride, each finds a little something that expands inside them into a work of art. Carlos witnesses a young immigrant boy getting the devil from his mother and it triggers an idea for a book; the train as a living theater of sound generates a idea for aspiring composer Rachel; Paul thinks he can translate a lovely Spanish song into dance; and Maria wants to capture the spirit of a subway preacher with her paints. Often using four panels per spread, Maione’s (Summer with Elisa, not reviewed, etc.) delicate pen-and-wash illustrations depict the creative process of the four artists: They charge ahead, they get discouraged, they grab at insights that help guide them. Then, this being a perfect world, each gets to publish, perform, or display his or her work. In a nice touch, each of the artists gets to enjoy another’s work, feeling a definite kinship. Lakin (Fat Chance Thanksgiving, p. 1215, etc.) puts a high gloss on the artistic process, but she certainly gets right the role of attentiveness and a freed imagination. (Picture book. 4-8)