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WANT TO BE IN A BAND? by Suzzy Roche


by Suzzy Roche & illustrated by Giselle Potter

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-375-86879-5
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

While many children may answer the titular question in the affirmative, it seems likely that only (some) adults will appreciate the behind-the-scenes glimpse of one group’s genesis offered by quirky songstress Roche.

Although she begins by suggesting that, in general, kids who like to make noise may be budding musicians, Roche’s perspective quickly becomes specific. If you want to be in a band, “you’ll need two interesting, smart older sisters who can play guitars and sing.” She’s also a wee bit behind the times: The band she suggests emulating is the Beatles (though showing the dog in a shaggy wig as Ringo is worth a giggle—at least to grownups, who’ll know who he is). Roche does provide, and reiterate, some pragmatic advice: Aspiring musicians will need to practice, practice, practice. But it’s buried in an arch, overlong text with minimal child appeal. Potter’s distinctive watercolor-and-ink illustrations feature flat-faced characters and straightforward compositions, effectively conveying the action and creating a retro vibe. This suits Roche’s somewhat nostalgic view of growing up and getting famous perfectly, but unfortunately, it does little to inject energy or interest.

Fans of the Roches will appreciate in-jokes, like the mention of strawberry-apricot pie, but ultimately, this chronicle of perfecting skills and performing for ever larger audiences is too narrowly focused to provide encouragement, entertainment or inspiration. (Picture book. 6-8)